May 262023
 


Damien Hirst Renewal Blossom 2018

 

Ukraine Sent Poor, Untrained Men Into Bakhmut Meat Grinder (Antiwar)
US Has Been Preparing Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘For Months’ – Nuland (RT)
Shoigu Sees West Waging Undeclared War On Russia, Belarus (TASS)
More Than 2,500 Foreign Mercenaries Fighting For Ukraine – Shoigu (RT)
Kiev Regime Must Cease To Exist – Medvedev (RT)
China Tells EU To Look At ‘Root Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)
What Matters Is A Guy With Dementia Not Elected US President – Medvedev (TASS)
Top US General Milley Delivers Sober Take On Ukrainian Ambitions (RT)
Minsk, Moscow Sign Documents On Storage Of Russian Nukes In Belarus (TASS)
Kremlin Responds To Ukrainian Threat To Kill Putin (RT)
Hungary: European Parliament Trying To Block Budapest’s EU Presidency (TASS)
The G7 Must Accept That It Cannot Run The World (Martin Wolf)
Catastrophic “Loss of Control” Data Breach in NY Elections (UncoverDC)

 

 

Hodkinson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661722712677535744

 

 

 

 

Putin Valdai

 

 


 

 

Hillary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661749513600798720

 

 

Rasmussen.

 

 

Bowie Tina
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661460057710632961

 

 

Pepe Escobar:
European Central Bank (ECB) at 25:

Industrial production: – 16%
Real wages: – 11.2%
GDP per (occupied) person: -5%
Absolute poverty: +234%
Precarious: +81%
Expats: +140,2%
Savings rate: -82,5%

With friends like this, Europeans definitely don’t need enemies.

 

 

 

 

“.. to Save Better Forces for Counteroffensive..”

“..he was being sent fresh recruits who didn’t want to fire their guns because they were afraid of the sound..”

Ukraine Sent Poor, Untrained Men Into Bakhmut Meat Grinder (Antiwar)

Ukraine sent untrained recruits into the battle of Bakhmut to save its professional soldiers for an expected counteroffensive, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The Journal spoke with men who were part of a small group that was sent into Bakhmut, which became known as the meat grinder, just a few days after being mobilized. Out of 16 men in the group of draftees, 11 were either killed or captured. The Journal described them as “mostly poor men from villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region, many of them unemployed, doing odd jobs as handymen or shift work at factories in the regional capital.” Some of the men had military training years or decades ago, but none had combat experience. A few of them threatened to refuse orders when they were told they were being sent to the frontlines on February 21, citing a lack of training, but they ultimately went.

One man, Vladyslav Yudin, told the Journal that he told a sergeant major that he had never fired or even held a gun before. “Bakhmut will teach you,” Yudin was told. The men participated in brutal house-to-house combat in Bakhmut. Many of them are presumed dead, but their families are still holding out hope that they were captured by the Russians and are still alive. The men’s accounts match what Ukrainians fighting on the frontlines had been telling the media while the battle was still raging. They told stories of troops being sent in with little support, training, or ammunition. The Washington Post spoke to a Ukrainian battalion commander in March who said he was being sent fresh recruits who didn’t want to fire their guns because they were afraid of the sound.

Despite Kyiv’s Western backers advising against expending resources on Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tried to hold onto the city for as long as he could, but it was fully captured by the Wagner Group and Russian forces this past weekend. Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin estimated that 50,000 Ukrainians lost their lives fighting for the city, but the number is not confirmed. Prigozhin also said that he recruited 50,000 people from prison to fight in Bakhmut and about 20% of them were killed.

Read more …

The wicked witch is back..

US Has Been Preparing Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘For Months’ – Nuland (RT)

The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told an audience in Kiev on Thursday that Washington has been helping plan the Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ against Russia for almost half a year. “Even as you plan for the counteroffensive, which we have been working on with you for some 4-5 months, we are already beginning our discussions with [the] Ukrainian government and with friends in Kiev – both on the civilian side and on the military side – about Ukraine’s long-term future,” Nuland told the Kiev Security Forum via video-link from the State Department. She added that the attack will be “likely starting and moving concurrently” with events such as the NATO summit in Lithuania, scheduled for July 11.

According to Nuland, the US is also planning for Ukraine’s future military to deter Russia, so “wherever and however this ends – one year, six years, 16 years – we are not doing this again.” She also painted a rosy picture of a future in which Ukraine would be the “engine of Europe’s revitalization” and “setting the democratic example… for the whole world.” The forum was organized by the Open Ukraine Foundation, established by former Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatseniuk, who moderated the panel at which Nuland spoke. Another panel was co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council, whose officials argued that “transatlantic unity and robust support can help Ukraine defeat Russia and renew European security.”

The government in Kiev had been heralding a major “counteroffensive” for months. President Vladimir Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have argued that they didn’t have quite enough weapons, ammunition and equipment and needed the West to send more. As of Thursday, two of Zelensky’s advisers gave public statements implying the offensive hasn’t started yet, while a third insisted it was already underway along the 1,500-kilometer long frontline. Nuland famously traveled to Kiev to support the Maidan protests in December 2013, handing out pastries to the crowds demanding a pact with the EU. In a February 2014 phone call, she discussed the composition of the future Ukrainian government with US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt. Three weeks later, the nationalists would violently seize power from President Viktor Yanukovich, triggering events that would lead to Crimea rejoining Russia and clashes in the Donbass.

Returning to the State Department in 2021 as part of Joe Biden’s administration, Nuland was once again put in charge of Ukraine policy. Speaking at a Carnegie Foundation event in February, she said the conquest of Crimea and regime change in Moscow would be the ideal outcome of the current conflict. Her sister-in-law Kimberly Kagan runs the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington advocacy group frequently quoted by Western media about the situation on the Ukraine frontline.

Greenwald Sachs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661768345211764738

Read more …

“Today, we are being confronted by the collective West, which, in effect, is waging an undeclared war on our countries..”

Shoigu Sees West Waging Undeclared War On Russia, Belarus (TASS)

A Western-led undeclared war is being waged against Moscow and Minsk, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Khrenin, on Thursday. “Today, we are being confronted by the collective West, which, in effect, is waging an undeclared war on our countries,” Shoigu said. According to him, NATO’s military activities “have been most aggressive of late.” “A number of measures to enhance the combat readiness of the [North Atlantic] Alliance’s Joint Armed Forces in Eastern Europe is currently being implemented. Extra troops and military infrastructure are being deployed there, and combat training and reconnaissance activities have intensified near the border of the [Russia-Belarus] Union State,” Shoigu said.

Read more …

“The West is forcing the Kiev regime, regardless of losses, to show tactical successes and willingness to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and pumping it with weapons..”

More Than 2,500 Foreign Mercenaries Fighting For Ukraine – Shoigu (RT)

Western countries are forcing Kiev to show tactical successes on the battlefield regardless of the cost to human lives and “pumping” the country full of weapons and fighters, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said. Speaking at a meeting of the council of defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Minsk on Thursday, the Russian minister said the value of the West’s military-technical assistance to Kiev has already exceeded $65 billion and more than 2,500 foreign mercenaries are currently taking part in military operations in the country. He also claimed that Kiev’s tactics have evolved to include terrorist methods of confrontation, including sabotage and high-profile killings.

“The most tense situation today has developed in the Eastern European region. The West is forcing the Kiev regime, regardless of losses, to show tactical successes and willingness to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and pumping it with weapons,” Shoigu said. He claimed that this would only lead to further escalation and prolong the conflict. Shoigu suggested that this was being done intentionally and that NATO had been using the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to build up its military capabilities and modernize its infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. Shoigu claimed the US and its allies are intentionally creating hotbeds of tension and provoking crises near the borders of CSTO members, leading to an “extremely unstable” military-political situation in these areas. The minister accused the West of providing support for terrorist and extremist structures, and also using sanctions, threats and blackmail to achieve their goals of destabilizing the region.

On Thursday, Shoigu also spoke with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin. During their meeting, he explained that the West was waging an “undeclared war” against Russia and Belarus and that NATO’s military activity had taken a “most aggressive direction.” In response to the West’s “increasingly aggressive rhetoric” and joint “nuclear missions,” which involve drills on deploying weapons of mass destruction, Moscow and Minsk officially signed a nuclear weapons deal on Thursday, allowing the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus. Shoigu explained that control over the weapons remains in Moscow’s hands, but noted that “additional measures” could be taken going forward in order to ensure the security of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

Read more …

“..the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine stems from decades of Western disregard of Russian national security..”

Kiev Regime Must Cease To Exist – Medvedev (RT)

There is no doubt that Ukraine has no future in its current form, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, outlining three possible scenarios for the collapse of its statehood and assessing the risks of renewed conflict in Europe and a global war. “This conflict will last for long. For decades, probably. This is a new reality,” the former Russian leader, now the vice-chair of the national security council, told journalists upon wrapping his visit to Vietnam earlier this week. “It is necessary to destroy the very nature of the Nazi government in Kiev,” Medvedev added, claiming that otherwise the conflict could drag on perpetually, with “three years of truce, two years of conflict, rinse and repeat.”

In a Telegram post on Thursday evening, Medvedev elaborated that Ukraine’s statehood could either collapse quickly, or through a “relatively slow erosion, with the gradual loss of remaining elements of sovereignty.” He went even further to outline exactly how he believes the “Kiev regime” would cease to exist. In the first scenario, parts of Western Ukraine will come under control and eventually be annexed by the neighboring European Union states, Medvedev claimed. The remaining “no man’s land” wedged between Russia and the EU protectorate will become the “new Ukraine,” still striving to join NATO and posing a threat to Russia. In that case, he believes, the armed conflict will shortly reignite, likely becoming permanent with a risk of quickly escalating into a full-blown world war.

In the second scenario, Ukraine would get a government-in-exile but de-facto cease to exist, with control over its entire territory split between the EU and Russia. In that case, according to Medvedev, the risk of world war is “moderate,” but the “terrorist activity by Ukrainian neo-Nazis” on the territories annexed by the EU neighbors would drag on. Medvedev said he would prefer the third scenario, in which Ukraine’s Western territories voluntarily join their EU neighbors, while the Eastern and some central regions exercise their “right for self-determination sealed in Article 1 of the UN Charter.” Officials in Moscow have said repeatedly that the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine stems from decades of Western disregard of Russian national security.

Back in 2021, the Kremlin made an attempt to push NATO to negotiate on long-standing political and defense grievances, but was ignored. In late February 2022, Russia launched its military operation to curb the threat, and now calls for a neutral, non-aligned status for a demilitarized and denazified Ukraine, insists Kiev drops its plans to join NATO and the EU and demands Kiev confirms its non-nuclear status. Medvedev was president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then prime minister until 2020. Currently, he serves as the deputy head of the national security council, which is formally chaired by President Vladimir Putin. Despite his prior reputation as a moderate liberal, he has been far more hawkish on Ukraine than the official Kremlin.

Ritter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661399405029736453

Read more …

The west still doesn’t take China seriously. Big mistake.

China Tells EU To Look At ‘Root Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)

European countries should focus on finding and fixing the “root causes” that led to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Chinese Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui told German Federal Foreign Office State Secretary Andreas Michaelis during a meeting in Berlin on Wednesday. Li said Beijing’s position on the Ukrainian issue remains unchanged and is focused on promoting peace talks and a political settlement to the conflict, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Recalling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s words, Li said that “there is no panacea to resolve the crisis” and that all parties needed to create favorable conditions for the resumption of peace talks through the accumulation of mutual trust.

“China supports European countries to start from the root causes of the crisis and find solutions to both symptoms and the root causes, and make efforts for the long-term stability of the European continent,” Li said, adding that Beijing is willing to maintain close communication with Germany on this issue. According to the statement, Michaelis said the German side highly valued China’s positive efforts to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis and noted that it was “useful and necessary” for the two countries to strengthen dialogue on a number of major international and regional issues, including the situation in Ukraine. Li and Michalis’s meeting comes as the Chinese special representative is on a week-long tour of Europe intended to encourage a political settlement for Ukraine and promote China’s 12-point road map to achieving peace in the region.

The envoy has already met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Poland’s deputy foreign minister and French foreign ministry officials. He is set to conclude the tour with a visit to Moscow on Friday. China’s peace efforts have been welcomed by Russia and several other nations, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying many points on Beijing’s plan are “in tune” with Moscow’s position. However, most Western powers have dismissed China’s roadmap, stating that it lacked “credibility” amid Beijing’s refusal to join the West’s anti-Russian sanction campaign. The EU’s Foreign Policy chief has also called China’s plan “wishful thinking” and insisted that the only solution worth considering is one proposed by Kiev, which includes a complete withdrawal of Russian forces and an international tribunal.

Xi/EEF

Read more …

“Donald Trump: the Russian politician described him as “a nice guy, but a bit of a coward.”

What Matters Is A Guy With Dementia Not Elected US President – Medvedev (TASS)

The only thing that matters for Moscow is that US voters do not choose a president suffering from dementia during the 2024 election, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters during a visit to Vietnam. When asked which candidate would be preferable for Moscow, Medvedev replied: “The only thing that matters is that a guy with dementia is not elected.” “But this is possible,” he added. Speaking about electoral chances of former US President Donald Trump, the Russian politician described him as “a nice guy, but a bit of a coward.” “Historically, it was always easier for us to work with the Republicans,” he added. Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in November 2022. Incumbent US President Joe Biden said he would seek re-election on April 25. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined the race on May 24.

Read more …

We’re being prepared for years of warfare.

Top US General Milley Delivers Sober Take On Ukrainian Ambitions (RT)

The fighting in Ukraine is going to continue with no military solution in the near future, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. Milley spoke alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after the virtual meeting of the ‘Ukrainian Defense Contact Group’, a collection of Western countries pledging to supply Kiev with weapons, equipment and ammunition to use against Russia – while insisting they are not a party to the conflict. Ukraine’s strategic objectives are to take all the territory “occupied”by Russia, where “a couple hundred thousand” Russian troops are currently positioned, Milley told reporters. “That might be achievable militarily, but probably not in the near term.”

“That means fighting is going to continue. It’s gonna be bloody. It’s gonna be hard. And at some point both sides will either negotiate a settlement or they will come to a military conclusion,” he said. Meanwhile, the US will continue supporting Ukraine. Austin and Milley insisted throughout that Kiev was not losing. They painted the months-long battle for Bakhmut, which Ukraine lost, as a triumph of defense. They also claimed that the Ukrainians were using the US-supplied Patriot air defense systems “very effectively.” The Russian Defense Ministry said it had used Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to destroy a Patriot battery in the Ukrainian capital earlier this month. Milley also defended the decision not to send F-16 fighters to Ukraine sooner, arguing that the US was not ramping up weapons deliveries as a result of public pressure, but always sending Kiev precisely what it needed at any given moment, using “hardcore military analysis” of cost, benefit and risk.

Deploying just ten F-16 fighters would cost $2 billion, including operations and maintenance, Milley explained, while Russia has over 1,000 modern jets. So the decision was made to supply Kiev with air defenses first, and send the F-16s as a more long-term solution. “It’s going to take a considerable length of time to build up an air force that’s the size and scope and scale that’ll be necessary,” Milley said. He also cautioned reporters to curb their enthusiasm, as “there are no magic weapons. An F-16 is not, and neither is anything else.” It has been known since February that Milley would retire at some point this year. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden nominated as his replacement the current Air Force chief of staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr.

Read more …

“..The measures taken by Russia and Belarus “comply with all existing international legal obligations..”

Minsk, Moscow Sign Documents On Storage Of Russian Nukes In Belarus (TASS)

The defense ministers of Russia and Belarus, Sergey Shoigu and Viktor Khrenin, respectively, signed documents in Minsk on Thursday defining the procedures for storing Russian nuclear weapons at a special storage facility on Belarusian territory, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reported. “During the meeting, documents determining the procedure for keeping Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in a special storage facility on the territory of the Republic of Belarus were signed,” the ministry’s press service said. The measures taken by Russia and Belarus “comply with all existing international legal obligations,” Shoigu stressed.


The defense ministers discussed the current military and political situation and issues of military and technical cooperation between the two countries’ defense ministries. On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that, at Minsk’s request, Moscow would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, similar to what the United States has long been doing on the territory of its allies. As the Russian leader indicated, the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons will be completed in Belarus by July 1. Moscow has already provided Minsk with Iskander tactical missile systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons and has helped Minsk to re-equip its military aircraft to carry specialized weapons. As well, Belarusian missile crews and pilots have undergone training in Russia.

Read more …

The death of Putin would mean the death of Ukraine.

Kremlin Responds To Ukrainian Threat To Kill Putin (RT)

Ukraine’s leadership has again proven its “terrorist” nature by threatening to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said, while giving assurances that the Russian leader is well protected. “A terrorist regime talks about its terrorist aspirations,” Peskov told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster on Thursday. The spokesman was commenting on an acknowledgement by Vadim Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), who told the German outlet Die Welt on Wednesday that Putin was on his agency’s kill list. Peskov said such statements show that the military operation, launched by Russia in Ukraine in February 2022, was “more than justified, more than necessary and that it must be completed.”

When asked if the Russian president’s security detail had been boosted after the threat from Kiev, Peskov replied: “Trust me, our security services know their job and know what they’re doing.” In his interview, Skibitsky claimed that Putin “notices that we’re getting ever closer to him.” Ukrainian operatives have so far been unable to get to him because the Russian leader “stays holed up,” he added. The intelligence official said the GUR was also “trying to kill” the head of the Wagner private military company, Evgeny Prighozhin, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. In early May, two small drones were disabled by air defenses, while trying to strike Putin’s Kremlin residence in Moscow. The Russian leader was not there at the time of the failed attack, and no one was hurt.

Despite the Ukrainian authorities denying any involvement, Moscow called the incident a “a pre-planned terrorist act” and an attempt on Putin’s life perpetrated by Kiev. The Kremlin vowed that Russia would retaliate to the raid “anywhere and anytime it deems necessary,” while senior lawmaker Vyacheslav Volodin called for the use of “weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kiev terrorist regime.” Russia has accused Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s government of engaging in “terrorist tactics” since last fall, when it said Ukraine was targeting Russian infrastructure, including nuclear facilities and the strategic Crimean Bridge. The accusations were followed by the launch of a large-scale missile campaign across Ukraine, which delivered serious damage to the country’s energy system and depleted the capabilities of Ukrainian air defenses.

Podolyak

Read more …

No qualms about breaking their own rules..

Hungary: European Parliament Trying To Block Budapest’s EU Presidency (TASS)

The European Parliament has prepared a draft resolution depriving Hungary of the right to preside over the European Union in the second half of 2024, Hungarian Justice Ministry Judit Varga said. “Next week, the European Parliament will once again vote on a resolution against Hungary in a bid to block its EU presidency in the second half of 2024. We will not let them take this opportunity away from Hungary,” she wrote on Facebook (banned in Russia due to its ownership by Meta, which has been designated as extremist).


The European Parliament has passed resolutions criticizing Hungary before, which are recommendatory and not legally binding. The Hungarian authorities argue that European Parliament members from leftist parties dislike the country’s independent position on a number of international issues, including the conflict in Ukraine. Varga pointed out that it was up to the Council of the European Union and not the European Parliament to make decisions on the EU presidency rotation. According to her, the Hungarian government is “in daily contact with the Council’s general secretariat and continues to make preparations to perform the mission.”

Read more …

“..between 2000 and 2023, its share in global output (at purchasing power) will have fallen from 44 to 30 per cent, while that of all high-income countries will have fallen from 57 to 41 per cent..”

The G7 Must Accept That It Cannot Run The World (Martin Wolf)

“Goodbye G7, hello G20.” That was the headline on an article in The Economist on the first summit of the Group of 20 in Washington in 2008 which argued that this represented “a decisive shift in the old order”. Today, hopes of a co-operative global economic order, which reached their zenith at the G20’s London summit of April 2009(opens a new window), have evaporated. Yet it is hardly a case of “Goodbye G20, hello G7”. The earlier world of G7 domination is even more remote than that of G20 co-operation. Neither global co-operation nor western domination look feasible. What might follow? Alas, “division” might be one answer and “anarchy” another. That is not what the communiqué from the meeting of G7 heads of government in Hiroshima suggests.

It is breathtakingly comprehensive. It covers: Ukraine; disarmament and non-proliferation; the Indo-Pacific region; the global economy; climate change; the environment; energy, including clean energy; economic resilience and economic security; trade; food security; health; labour; education; digital; science and technology; gender; human rights, refugees, migration and democracy; terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organised crime; and relations with China, Afghanistan and Iran (among other countries). At 19,000 words, this reads like a manifesto for a world government. In contrast, the communiqué of the London G20 summit in April 2009 was just over 3,000 words. This comparison is unfair, given the focus at that time on the economic crisis. But an unfocused wish list cannot be useful: when everything is a priority, nothing is.

Moreover, both the “unipolar” moment of the US and the economic dominance of the G7 are history. True, the latter is still the most powerful and cohesive economic bloc in the world. It continues, for example, to produce all the world’s leading reserve currencies. Yet, between 2000 and 2023, its share in global output (at purchasing power) will have fallen from 44 to 30 per cent, while that of all high-income countries will have fallen from 57 to 41 per cent. Meanwhile, China’s share will have risen from 7 to 19 per cent. China is now an economic superpower. Via its Belt and Road Initiative it has become a huge investor in (and creditor of) developing countries, though, predictably, it is having to deal with the consequent bad debts so familiar to G7 countries. For some emerging and developing countries, China is a more important economic partner than the G7: Brazil is one example. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may have attended the G7, but he cannot sensibly ignore China’s heft.

The G7 are also reaching out to others: their meeting in Japan included India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and South Korea. But 19 countries (opens a new window)have apparently applied to join the Brics(opens a new window), which already include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. When Jim O’Neill invented the idea of the Brics back in 2001(opens a new window), he thought this would be an economically relevant category. I thought the Brics would be about just China and India. Economically, that was right. But the Brics now seem to be on the way to being a relevant worldwide grouping. Clearly, what brings its members together is the desire not to be dependent on the whims of the US and its close allies, who have dominated the world for the past two centuries. How long, after all, can (or, for that matter, should) the G7, with 10 per cent of the world’s population, continue to do so?

Read more …

“..recovery from such an incident is not possible..”

Catastrophic “Loss of Control” Data Breach in NY Elections (UncoverDC)

A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Information Warfare (JIW) confirms a “Loss of Control” breach has occurred in the NYSVoter Database. A peer-reviewed paper of their results in a respected journal is a hard-won and “significant milestone,” according to Marly Hornik, Executive Director of the NY Citizens Audit. The audit of the voter rolls was led by Marly Hornik and Andrew Paquette, Ph.D., Director of Research, who submitted the paper to JIW. Paquette “co-founded the International Game Architecture and Design Academy (now BUAS) in the Netherlands after a career in the feature film and video game industries. He received his Ph.D. from King’s College, London, in 2018 for a thesis on the development of expertise.”

In July 2021, Hornik and Paquette assembled a group of volunteers in New York that has grown to around 2000 individuals statewide to investigate the state’s voter registration rolls. Hornik presented the group’s preliminary findings to attendees at The Pit, sponsored by True the Vote, in August 2022. In her recent letter to New York citizens, Hornik explains the seriousness of the group’s findings:

“Through auditing the voter roll databases, obtained directly from state and local boards of elections, we have uncovered millions of invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrants, massive vote discrepancies, and the clear presence of algorithmic patterns we reverse engineered from within the state’s own official records. To be absolutely clear, there is no known innocent purpose or explanation for why these algorithms exist. I am told by cyber-intelligence experts they indicate a ‘Total Loss of Control’ data breach, the most severe kind of data breach recognized by our federal government. The law says it renders the affected NYSVoter database completely untrustworthy.”

[..] A “Loss of Control Breach” is a catastrophic level of “impact,” both functionally and in terms of information lost. It is important to note that the designation indicates “recovery from such an incident is not possible.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

EV

 

 

Coleman

 

 

 

 

Language
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661404186989264899

 

 

Coconut Octopus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661731592254160898

 

 

Fish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661872894207574016

 

 

Humpback
https://twitter.com/i/status/1661682803648479237

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 172023
 
 May 17, 2023  Posted by at 9:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese) 1932 (sold 2 years ago for $103.4 million)

 

Russia Case Against Trump: A Shocking Conspiracy That Continues Today (Turley)
The Durham Coverup (Lee Smith)
Special Counsel Reveals 2016 Trump-Russia FBI Investigative Failure (Max Jones)
Why Shouldn’t the Election Be Called Into Question? (BN)
Influence of ‘Russian Propaganda’ Growing – EU Official (RT)
Aide Reveals Zelensky’s F-16 Wish List – Politico (RT)
UK Will Help Supply Ukraine With F-16s (RT)
NATO’s Military Policies In Ukraine Posed Real Threat To Russia – Envoy (TASS)
How NATO Seduced The European Left (Lily Lynch)
Ukraine Says It Shoots Down More Missiles Than Russia Fires – Shoigu (RT)
Russia Likely Damaged US-Made Patriot Missile Battery – CNN (RT)
Ukraine’s Top Spy Admits Killing Russian Public Figures (RT)
Erdogan Accuses Biden Of Attempt To Topple Him (Cradle)
US May Designate Russia As State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Az.)
German ex-Chancellor’s Wife Fired For Attending May 9 Celebration (RT)
Musk: I’ll Say What I Want And If The Consequence Is Losing Money, So Be It (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Hawley

 

 

 

 

Lesley Stahl

 

 

 

 

Tapper
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658538596058423323

 

 

 

 

Biggs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658501544952623104

 

 

 

 

Durham Report: Obama FBI offered Clinton campaign operative Christopher Steele as much as $1 million for dirt on Trump just one month before the 2016 election. Durham Report, p. 118

 

 

The West is not able to make up for the loss of armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Douglas McGregor, a former adviser to the head of the Pentagon, admitted in an interview.
“The Ukrainian army has lost almost 10,000 armored vehicles since the beginning of the conflict. This is unbelievable, 10 thousand! ”, The former adviser said.
He also emphasized that the colossal losses of equipment by the Ukrainian army speak of the “extreme effectiveness” of the Russian army in destroying armored vehicles. McGregor noted that sending weapons to Kiev could “bring money into the pockets of the American defense leadership,” but would not change the course of the conflict.

 

 

 

 

“Comey delighted viewers by saying: “Honestly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013.”

Russia Case Against Trump: A Shocking Conspiracy That Continues Today (Turley)

A political campaign hatches a plot to create a false claim of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Making this even more implausible is that the CIA and FBI know about the plot. As detailed in the report, President Barack Obama and his national security team were briefed on how “a trusted foreign source” revealed “a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server. It then happened a few days later. It was a plot that required everyone to take a hand in derailing a duly elected president and effectively shutting down his administration for three years of investigation and prosecutions. In this conspiracy, there were dozens of key participants in the campaign, the government, and the media. Here are a few of the characters implicated in this report.

The report details how the Russian collusion conspiracy was invented by Clinton operatives and put into the now-infamous Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign. The funding was hidden as legal expenses by then-Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. (The Clinton campaign was later sanctioned by the FEC over its hiding of the funding.) New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Elias denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.” It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier.

John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress. Durham details how Elias played an active role in tracking the media campaign to push the false allegations. (Elias was recently severed by the Democratic National Committee from further representation and has been previously sanctioned in the federal courts in other litigation.) The report details how false claims like the existence of a “pee tape” showing Trump engaging in disgusting acts with prostitutes in Moscow came from a Clinton operative, Chuck Dolan, with no known basis in fact.

Likewise, now-national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Clinton personally pushed an absurd campaign-created conspiracy theory about a secret communication line between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin through a Russian bank. The Clinton campaign later admitted that it had indeed funded the dossier, but Clinton continued to claim that the election was stolen from her by the Russians. Of course, this conspiracy could not occur without the assistance of the FBI, which Durham found played an eager role due to a “predisposition” of key players against Trump. The dossier was discredited early by American intelligence, which learned that it might itself be Russian disinformation. There never was support for the allegations, but the FBI launched and maintained a massive investigation anyway.

Durham noted that the FBI showed a completely different approach to allegations involving the Clinton campaign. The Trump investigation was a “noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign.” Nevertheless, former FBI Director James Comey would continue to reference the entirely unsupported “pee tape” in interviews. Even though investigators found no support for the campaign-created story, in a 2018 interview, Comey delighted viewers by saying: “Honestly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013.”

Peepee

Read more …

“Did Ex-CIA Director John Brennan Doctor His Notes to Hide His Role in Russiagate?”

“..virtually none of the officials interviewed by Durham knew about the Clinton Plan intelligence..”

The Durham Coverup (Lee Smith)

The only genuine piece of Russian intelligence that US spy services ever received about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia was intelligence that Russia knew Hillary Clinton backed a 2016 campaign plan to smear Trump as a Russian agent. According to John Durham’s 300-page report, the information reached the CIA in late July 2016. Brennan told Durham that on August 3 he briefed President Barack Obama at the White House on what the special counsel refers to as the Clinton Plan intelligence. Others in attendance at the meeting were Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey. Imagine Comey’s reaction when he first heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence, only days after the July 31 start date for the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, code-named Crossfire Hurricane:

So, if it’s just a dirty trick staged by the Clinton campaign, I should shut down the Trump-Russia probe, right? Right. There is little chance Brennan said anything about the Clinton Plan intelligence in that August 3 meeting. Reading the Durham report, it’s not even clear when Brennan first found out about it or the September 2016 CIA memo referring the Clinton Plan intelligence to the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Brennan’s handwritten notes memorializing his allegedly briefing Obama on the Clinton Plan and the CIA’s referral letter were both declassified by Trump’s Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in October 2020. Durham’s report sheds light on how the information and subsequent CIA memo were received, who knew about them, and perhaps more significantly who didn’t.

According to the report, virtually none of the officials interviewed by Durham knew about the Clinton Plan intelligence or the referral memo. Former FBI general counsel James Baker “stated that he had neither seen nor heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence or the resulting Referral Memo prior to his interview” with Durham. Same with Supervisory Special Agent-1, reportedly FBI agent Joe Pientka. According to the report, when Durham showed Pientka the information, he became “visibly upset and emotional, left the interview room with his counsel, and subsequently returned to state emphatically that he had never been apprised of the Clinton Plan intelligence and had never seen the aforementioned Referral Memo. Supervisory Special Agent-1 expressed a sense of betrayal that no one had informed him of the intelligence.”

The reason so few FBI officials knew of the Clinton Plan information is because it was buried. Otherwise, it would have implicated senior Obama officials — from the president and vice president and his security chiefs — and the Crossfire Hurricane team in an illegal surveillance and propaganda operation targeting a presidential campaign. But how did the Russians know it started with Hillary Clinton? Did they have spies buried deep inside the Democratic National Committee? Maybe Christopher Steele, British ex-spy and author of the Clinton-funded memos tying Trump to Russia, had been compromised by one of the Russian oligarchs he worked for? No, you wouldn’t have needed an intelligence service to find out the Clinton campaign was using Moscow as an instrument to smear the GOP candidate. By the end of July, much of the anti-Trump campaign was public.

Nunes

Read more …

“The FBI” is made up of real people. Go after them.

Special Counsel Reveals 2016 Trump-Russia FBI Investigative Failure (Max Jones)

• The Australian diplomats told Crossfire Hurricane investigators that Papadopoulos never stated that he had any direct contact with the Russians nor did he provide any explicit information about an offer of assistance.
• There was a complete lack of information from the Intelligence Community that corroborated the hypothesis upon which the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was predicated.
• The FBI generally ignored the significant exculpatory information provided by Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Trump Senior Foreign Policy Advisor-! during recorded conversations with FBI CHSs.
• The FBI failed to pursue investigative leads that were inconsistent with their theory of the case (e.g., Page’s recorded denials of having any relationship with Paul Manafort, a fact about which there was available evidence).
• The FBI failed to take Page up on the written offer he made to Director Corney to be interviewed about the allegations contained in Michael Isikoff s Yahoo 1 News article and instead opted to seek FISA surveillance of Page.
• The FBI was willing to make use of the completely unvetted and uncorroborated Steele reporting in multiple FISA applications targeting a U.S. citizen, even after the Crossfire Hurricane investigators had determined that there were major conflicts between the reporting of Steele and his primary sub-source, Igor Danchenko – conflicts the FBI incredibly failed to resolve.
• The Crossfire Hurricane investigators did not even ask Steele about his role in providing information to Michael Isikoff as contained in the September 23, 2016 Yahoo! News article – information that essentially accused Carter Page of colluding with the Russians. And thereafter the same investigators demonstrated a willingness to contort the plain language of the article to suggest it was not Steele but Steele’s employers who had given the information to Isikoff.
• The FBI ignored the fact that at no time before, during or after Crossfire Hurricane were investigators able to corroborate a single substantive allegation in the Steele dossier reporting.
• There was a complete failure on the part of the FBI to even examine – never mind resolve – the serious counterespionage issues surrounding Steele’s primary subsource, Igor Danchenko.
• The FBI leadership essentially disregarded the Clinton Plan intelligence, which it received at almost the exact same time as the Australian Paragraph Five information. This was despite the fact that at precisely the same time as the Clinton Plan intelligence was received (i) the Clinton campaign made public statements tying the DNC computer hack to Russian attempts to help Trump get elected, (ii) the FBI was receiving the Clinton campaign-funded Steele Reports, and (iii) the Clinton campaign-funded Alfa Bank allegations were being prepared for delivery to the media and the FBI.
• The Crossfire Hurricane investigators essentially ignored information they had received as early as October 2016 regarding Charles Dolan, a longtime Democratic operative with ties to the Clintons who also possessed significant ties to Russian government figures who would appear in the Steele reporting, and never interviewed him.
• The Crossfire Hurricane investigators provided only partial, and in some instances misleading, information to Department attorneys working on the Page FISA applications while withholding other highly relevant information from those attorneys and the FISC that might cast real doubt on their probable cause assertions.

Pelosi


Schiff

Read more …

Durham makes this inevitable.

Why Shouldn’t the Election Be Called Into Question? (BN)

The Five’s co-host Greg Gutfeld unleashed a powerful diatribe in the aftermath of Monday’s Durham Report revelations detailing a full-fledged election interference operation carried out by the FBI and CIA in concert with the knowledge and approval of the Obama White House and driven in part by a Clinton Plan to ‘stir up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” Gutfeld defended Americans who continue to be skeptical about election integrity in the wake of the contested 2020 election that saw Joe Biden officially elected president over Donald Trump. “If you have people saying that the country will not survive Trump, then your moral duty is to cheat. Right?” he asked rhetorically. “And you should cheat. Like if somebody believe is telling everybody that this person is a modern day Hitler, it is your duty to do whatever is possible to stop him. In fact, if you actually play by the rules, you’re a traitor. Right?”

Gutfeld

“So, they created a devil that was so big and so vast that made all actions permissible,” he continued. “And it made every institution as, as the judge was saying, subject to suspicion, right? So you can bury stories, you can create hoaxes, you can fund smears, it could go anywhere, because this person must be stopped. It’s Hitler! An existential threat. And so what happens is now we’re left and none of it’s true? And so we had a half a decade hoax that infected and undermined every institution because we are made to believe this person is evil.” “And then people make fun of people who are skeptical about an election,” he went on. “Why shouldn’t they be skeptical about an election when the DOJ and the FBI and the mainstream media and the tech companies and the Chamber of Commerce are all in on the same thing.”


“Why shouldn’t the election be called into question? Right?” he asked. “Shouldn’t a hero try to fix the election? Right? Shouldn’t a hero do that? If you’re up against Hitler, that’s where we ended up. And you can’t go and condemn people for so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ when you were going around telling everybody this guy was worse than Hitler. No.” The Fox News co-host’s rant flies in the face of the pivot of the network away from pro-Trump coverage and away from questioning the 2020 election following a $750 million dollar lawsuit settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Tucker Carlson, who was depositioned for the lawsuit, lost his popular primetime cable news show in the fallout, leading some media observers to believe that it may in part be connected to his 2020 election coverage. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of Fox Corporation, in his own deposition was highly critical of the Fox News’ coverage, even going so far as to state news “news networks should not knowingly broadcast lies.”

Read more …

“infiltration of the peace movement..”

“In many countries, the narrative that Russia is not the aggressor but the victim is on the rise..”

Influence of ‘Russian Propaganda’ Growing – EU Official (RT)

EU member states should spend more money on “strategic communications” because “Russian propaganda” is affecting their people, a senior official from the bloc has said. RT must remain banned in the region, while “independent” Russian media based in European nations need support, EU Commissioner Vera Jourova added. The Czech politician and European Commission veteran, who currently serves as its vice president for values and transparency, expressed her concern about the growing popularity of Russian positions on issues like the conflict in Ukraine during an interview with German newspaper Bild on Sunday. “In many countries, the narrative that Russia is not the aggressor but the victim is on the rise,” Jourova told the outlet.

“In Slovakia, more than 50% of the population believe in conspiracy theories, including those about the Russian war of aggression. To this day, we underestimate the influence of Russian propaganda.” Moscow maintains that the conflict in Ukraine stems from NATO’s unchecked expansion in Europe and the failure of Western nations to heed Russian warnings about how it was perceived by the country. A last-ditch attempt to de-escalate the situation was taken by the Russian government in 2021, but it was told that its concerns were unfounded and that Ukraine had a right to seek membership of the US-led military organization. From Russia’s perspective, the conflict is part of a proxy war against it by the West. The problem with EU citizens agreeing with the Russian position is that Moscow “invests billions in its propaganda and we hardly do anything to counter it,” Jourova claimed. She urged member states to invest more in “strategic communications and the fight against disinformation.”

Germany, Jourova suggested, is a particularly important target for Russia. She said she was worried about “infiltration of the peace movement” in the country. “Claiming that anyone supplying arms is a warmonger is extremely dangerous,” she explained. “This only serves to weaken the support for Ukraine.” The commissioner praised the EU’s censorship of RT, describing the channel as “not a media outlet” but rather a “wartime propaganda weapon” that has no place in Europe. “We should instead support the independent Russian media,” she suggested. “Many of them are here in Berlin and in other European cities.” The vice president’s office is reportedly behind a push to introduce a law in the EU to crackdown on “foreign agents.” Politico reported on a survey of nonprofits in March, who were asked whether they had foreign sources of funding. This was conducted ahead of a legislative package intended to “defend democracy.”

Read more …

They’ll be flying ducks, so to speak..

Aide Reveals Zelensky’s F-16 Wish List – Politico (RT)

Vladimir Zelensky wants the US and its allies to provide Kiev with between 40 and 50 F-16 fighter jets for use in its conflict with Russia, according to Yury Sak, an aide to Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov. This would be enough to form three or four squadrons of American-made fourth generation aircraft to protect the Ukrainian skies amid a large-scale Russian missile campaign, Sak told Politico on Monday. Kiev has been asking its Western backers for F-16s for months, but the need for the jets has become much more pressing since March, when Russia began using guided glide bombs that strike targets at greater distances, the adviser claimed. Ukraine currently has “nothing to stop” the Russian aircraft that launch those munitions, he admitted.

Zelensky has been touring Europe in the past week, visiting Italy, Germany, France and the UK in an attempt to ramp up military support for Ukraine. After talks with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday, the Ukrainian leader said he wanted to create a “jets coalition” of countries to facilitate the supply of F-16s to Kiev. “I’m very positive [about the plan]. We spoke about it and I see that in the closest time, you will hear some, I think, very important decisions – but we have to work a little bit more on it,” the Ukrainian president told reporters. London, Rome, Berlin and Paris don’t have F-16s to offer Ukraine but, according to Sak, those European powers “have an important voice in the international coalition.” Kiev wants them to “encourage” their allies, such as the US and Turkey, to make the deliveries, he explained.

Zelensky’s latest diplomatic efforts have resulted in him receiving “assurances” from Western leaders that they would address the issue of F-16s at the annual G7 meeting in Hiroshima, Japan this weekend. “Everybody understands that the topic is ripe for discussion. Nobody said that it’s impossible. If you compared it with three months ago, when we were still struggling to get tanks, today everybody is talking about the jet coalition – that’s a very promising sign,” Sak said. Russia has repeatedly warned that deliveries of more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine by the US and its allies could cross its ‘red lines’, which would lead to a major escalation. According to Moscow, the supply of arms, intelligence sharing and training provided to Kiev’s troops have already made Western nations de facto parties to the conflict.

Read more …

Let’s kill more young Ukrainians…

UK Will Help Supply Ukraine With F-16s (RT)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would work to create an “international coalition” to provide Western fighter jets to Ukraine, pledging to bolster the country’s “combat air capabilities” alongside allies. In a statement issued following a meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte at a Council of Europe summit on Tuesday, Sunak’s office said the two leaders would take steps to help coordinate aircraft shipments to Kiev. “[Sunak] and Prime Minister Rutte agreed they would work to build [an] international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting [it] with everything from training to procuring F16 jets,” 10 Downing Street said, stressing the “importance of allies providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine.” The prime minister did not specify what country might offer the American-made fighter jet, which is operated by more than two dozen nations, but suggested he would press allies to help facilitate the weapons transfers.

Ukrainian officials have requested the aircraft for months, with a senior Defense Ministry aide telling Politico on Monday that Kiev hopes to receive up to 50 F-16s from Washington and other partners. Since Moscow stepped up its use of guided glide bombs in March, the aide said Ukraine has “nothing to stop” Russian planes equipped with them. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky met with Sunak in an unannounced visit to the UK on Monday, where he called for a new “coalition of jets,” an idea well received by the British PM. The concept has been proposed by Kiev and other allies before, with Poland also voicing interest in such a project after providing some of its own Soviet-era MiG-29 fighters. Despite the renewed discussion of a jet coalition, some Western powers appear reluctant to supply advanced warplanes.

Though Ukrainian pilots are already being trained to operate the F-16 by the US military – and will soon receive similar instruction from British pilots – American, German and French officials have indicated they would not be willing to supply jets from their own arsenals. However, Washington has previously reversed course after declining to provide certain weapons systems, including the Patriot missile defense platform and the M1 Abrams main battle tank, both of which have since been pledged to Ukraine. Berlin, too, backtracked after refusing to transfer its Leopard 2 tank, agreeing to send the weapon earlier this year following pressure from allies. Russia has repeatedly warned that deliveries of more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine could cross its ‘red lines’ and lead to a major escalation. According to Moscow, the arms, intelligence and training provided to Kiev’s troops have already made Western nations de facto parties to the conflict.

Read more …

“These countries “had been pursuing an openly anti-Russian policy long before the current events in Ukraine.”

NATO’s Military Policies In Ukraine Posed Real Threat To Russia – Envoy (TASS)

The threat to Russia resulting from NATO, US and Britain’s military policies in Ukraine was real, Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN headquarters in Geneva, said at the plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday. “The threat to Russia’s security from the military development of Ukraine’s territory was real and acute and similar to what the US itself experienced during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis,” he said. Gatilov dismissed as falsehoods the accusations made by the US and other NATO countries against Moscow to the effect that the conflict in Ukraine was allegedly “unprovoked aggression.” “In deciding on a special military operation Russia took into account many security factors,” the Russian envoy said. In this regard, Gatilov recalled “the Kiev regime’s agreement in principle to the accelerated strategic development of Ukrainian territory by the NATO ‘nuclear alliance’ hostile to Russia” as well as “our country’s two nuclear adversaries – the US and Britain.


These countries “had been pursuing an openly anti-Russian policy long before the current events in Ukraine.” “In this context, it is worth recalling London’s construction of a naval base in the Ukrainian port city of Ochakov, NATO’s anti-Russian exercise Sea Breeze in the summer of 2021, which ended with the reckless behavior of a British ship that came under fire from the Russian armed forces and was forced to retreat,” Gatilov said. Furthermore, he continued, in September 2020, the US Air Force “used the airspace over Ukrainian territory for familiarization flights by heavy US B-52 nuclear-capable strategic bombers.” The Russian envoy noted that Moscow had warned of “the unacceptability of these irresponsible and destabilizing actions” and proposed “various initiatives for preventing the emerging conflict”.

Read more …

It’s the women…

“..telegenic female leaders such as the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, and Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, have increasingly served as the spokespersons of enlightened militarism in Europe..”

And the Estonian PM in the video.

How NATO Seduced The European Left (Lily Lynch)

In January 2018, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg held an unprecedented press conference with Angelina Jolie. While InStyle reported that Jolie “was dressed in a black off-the-shoulder sheath dress, a matching capelet and classic pumps (also black)”, there was a deeper purpose to this meeting: sexual violence in war. The pair had just co-authored a piece for the Guardian entitled “Why NATO must defend women’s rights”. The timing was significant. At the height of the #MeToo movement, the most powerful military alliance in the world had become a feminist ally. “Ending gender-based violence is a vital issue of peace and security as well as of social justice,” they wrote. “NATO can be a leader in this effort.”

This was a new and progressive face for Nato, the same one it has since used to seduce much of the European Left. Previously, in the Nordic countries, Atlanticists have had to sell war and militarism to largely pacifist publics. This was achieved in part by presenting Nato not as a rapacious, pro-war military alliance, but as an enlightened, “progressive” peace alliance. As Timothy Garton Ash effused in the Guardian in 2002, “NATO has become a European peace movement” where one could watch “John Lennon meet George Bush”. Today, by contrast, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-standing traditions of neutrality and opted for membership. Nato is portrayed as a military alliance -and Ukraine a war- that even former pacifists can get behind. All its proponents seem to be singing is “Give War a Chance”.

The Jolie campaign marked a dramatic turn in what Katharine A.M. Wright and Annika Bergman Rosamond call “Nato’s strategic narrative” in several ways. First, the alliance embraced celebrity star power for the first time, imbuing its unremarkable brand with elite glamour and beauty. Jolie’s star power meant that the alluring images of the event reached apolitical audiences with little knowledge of Nato. Second, the partnership seemed to usher in an era in which women’s rights, gendered violence and feminism would assume a more prominent role in Nato rhetoric. Since then, and especially in the past 12 months, telegenic female leaders such as the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, and Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, have increasingly served as the spokespersons of enlightened militarism in Europe. The alliance has also intensified its engagement with popular culture, new technologies, and youth influencers.

[..] No political party in Europe better exemplifies the shift from militant pacifism to ardent pro-war Atlanticism than the German Greens. Most of the original Greens had been radicals during the student protests of 1968; many had demonstrated against American wars. The early Greens advocated for West Germany’s withdrawal from Nato. But as the founding members entered middle age, fissures began to appear in the party that would one day tear it apart. Two camps began to coalesce: the “Realos” were the moderate Greens, politically pragmatists. The “Fundis” were the radical, uncompromising camp; they wanted the party to remain faithful to its fundamental values no matter what.

Predictably, the Fundis believed that European peace would be best served by West Germany’s withdrawal from the alliance and tended to favour military neutrality. Meanwhile, the Realos believed that West Germany needed Nato. They even argued that withdrawal would return matters of security to the German nation-state and risk rekindling militaristic nationalism. Their Nato was a post-national, cosmopolitan alliance, speaking numerous languages and flying a multitude of flags, protecting Europe from Germany’s most destructive impulses. But Nato membership at the end of history was one thing. Germany going to war again — the most forbidden of taboos after World War II — was something else entirely.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1658588374511263746

Read more …

“..The minister also said that Ukraine “always” misidentifies munitions used by Russia in its media statements. “That’s why they miss them..”

Ukraine Says It Shoots Down More Missiles Than Russia Fires – Shoigu (RT)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has refuted claims made by Ukrainian military officials about shooting down six Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles during overnight strikes on targets near the country’s capital city of Kiev. Ukraine routinely exaggerates the effectiveness of its anti-aircraft defenses, primarily ‘intercepting’ incoming Russian munitions only with public statements, Shoigu told RIA Novosti. “I have already said that, and I will repeat it again. We have not launched as many ‘Kinzhals’ as they allegedly shoot down every time with their statements. Moreover, the number of these ‘Ukrainian interceptions’ – and who really mans the American [anti-aircraft] complexes there, is still a big question – is three times as high as what we actually launch,” Shoigu stated.

The minister also said that Ukraine “always” misidentifies munitions used by Russia in its media statements. “That’s why they miss them,” he added, without providing any further information on the number of missiles used in the latest barrage. Ukraine was subjected to a new massive missile and suicide drone barrage overnight, with the country’s capital city of Kiev seeing particularly intense activity by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses, footage circulating online suggests. Moscow and Kiev have provided drastically different accounts of what happened overnight. Kiev claimed that it had shot down six state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles over the capital, as well as other incoming projectiles, using a battery of the US-made Patriot air defense system.

The Russian military, however, said the battery was successfully hit by a Kinzhal missile. Footage available online shows multiple anti-aircraft missiles going towards an unseen target, with at least two explosions seen at the site from which they appeared to be launched. Western media reports suggested the Patriot battery in question was likely damaged in the strike. According to CNN, citing an unidentified US official, Washington is currently assessing the extent of the damage in order to determine whether the Patriots need to be pulled back or whether on-site repairs by Ukrainian forces would be enough.

Read more …

The unlikely story of Ukraine downing a Kizhal is very popular. This much more likely story, much less so.

Russia Likely Damaged US-Made Patriot Missile Battery – CNN (RT)

A hypersonic missile strike by Russia has reportedly hit a US-supplied Patriot air-defense system in Kiev, potentially knocking the battery out of commission amid Moscow’s escalating attacks in western Ukraine. The Patriot system was likely damaged, but not destroyed, in a Russian missile barrage against Kiev on Tuesday morning, CNN reported, citing an unidentified US official. Washington is assessing the damage to determine whether the battery needs to be pulled back or repaired on site by Ukrainian forces, the outlet said. The report came hours after the Russian Defense Ministry announced that a hypersonic Kinzhal missile strike had destroyed a Patriot base in Kiev. Tuesday’s strikes also took out Ukrainian troop positions, munitions storage facilities, and Western-supplied weapons, the ministry said in a press briefing.

Ukrainian officials said earlier on Tuesday that they had intercepted six hypersonic missiles with their Patriot systems, a claim touted by Western media as proof that Kiev was thwarting a supposedly “unstoppable” Russian weapon. CNN said a US National Security Council spokesperson referred questions about the successful Russian strike to Ukrainian officials, who declined to comment on Moscow’s claim. Ukraine reportedly has two Patriot systems in operation – one supplied by the US and a battery provided jointly by Germany and the Netherlands. “Taking one out of commission, even for a short period, could affect Ukraine’s ability to defend Kiev amid intensifying Russian missile attacks,” CNN said. US officials told CNN last week that Moscow had targeted a Patriot system in a hypersonic strike earlier this month, but Ukrainian forces used the battery to intercept the Russian missile.

The outlet said Patriot batteries use a powerful radar to detect incoming threats at long range, enabling Russia’s military to pick up their signals and determine their location. Although the US military confirmed Ukraine’s claim of a successful missile intercept earlier this month, officials didn’t say whether the Kinzhal was flying at hypersonic speed at the time. Russia’s hypersonic missiles can travel at speeds up to Mach 12 (about 14,800 kilometers per hour) while performing evasive maneuvers, making them capable of penetrating any current air-defense systems. Missiles that fly at Mach 5 or above are classified as hypersonic. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was highly unlikely that Ukraine shot down a Kinzhal missile, which he described as having “absolutely unique characteristics.”

Read more …

“Zakharova wrote on Telegram: “Will the UN not notice that again?” The remarks are the latest in a string of bloodthirsty statements..”

Ukraine’s Top Spy Admits Killing Russian Public Figures (RT)

Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) chief General Kirill Budanov has claimed responsibility for assassinating “many” Russian public figures. The spy boss made the bombshell admission in an interview with Ukrainian blogger Sergey Ivanov on Tuesday. Asked whether top Russian “propagandists,” such as prominent journalist Vladimir Solovyov or RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, are prime targets for his organization, Budanov responded that the GUR had already “gotten” multiple high profile targets. “We have already gotten many, including public and media personalities,” Budanov said, without providing any names.

Pressed further by the blogger on the potential involvement of the GUR in the assassination of Darya Dugina, a journalist and the daughter of prominent Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, or the recent car bombing of Russian author and political activist Zakhar Prilepin, the spy boss said he could “neither confirm nor deny” the involvement of his service. Budanov’s remarks were condemned by Moscow, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stating that they were a clear admission of wrongdoing. “Terrorists. Those who provide excuses for the Kiev regime and sponsor it are accomplices of terrorists,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram. “Will the UN not notice that again?” The remarks are the latest in a string of bloodthirsty statements made by the GUR boss amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

Earlier this month, Budanov declared, “We’ve been killing Russians, and we will keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine.” The pledge received an equally poor reception in Russia, with multiple top officials branding it an admission of engaging in state-level terrorism by Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, for instance, said Budanov’s statement was “unprecedented in its essence,” and it was “strange” to not hear any condemnation “from European capitals and from Washington.” “It’s evident that the Kiev regime is behind the killings, not only sponsoring them but organizing, inciting, and carrying them out. De facto, we’re talking about a state sponsor of terrorism,” Peskov concluded, warning that Russia’s “special services know what to do after such statements.”

Read more …

“..the US must “support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan..”

Erdogan Accuses Biden Of Attempt To Topple Him (Cradle)

On the eve of critical Turkiye’s elections, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his supporters that US President Joe Biden had given instructions to topple him, Rudaw reported on 14 May. “Biden gave the instructions saying ‘we have to topple Erdogan.’ I know this. All my people know this. Tomorrow the ballots will give Biden an answer as well,” Erdogan said during an election rally in Istanbul on Saturday, 13 May, the day before voting began. At the rally, Erdogan also criticized his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who had accused Russia of spreading fabricated videos and fake content online to damage his campaign to unseat Erdogan. Erdogan said Russia is a crucial ally in the agriculture, defense, and tourism sectors, but NATO member Turkiye has also sold weapons and arms, including drones, to Ukraine in its war with Russia. In Sunday’s widely anticipated voting, Erdogan received 49.40 percent of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu received 44.96 percent.


However, neither candidate received the required 50% of votes to avoid a second round runoff vote, which will now take place in two weeks to determine Turkiye’s next president. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Biden described Erdogan as an autocrat and claimed his relationship with the Turkish president had deteriorated significantly. Biden explained, as a result, that his “comfort level [about having nuclear weapons in Turkiye] is diminished a great deal.” Biden stated that Erdogan needs to better integrate the country’s Kurdish population via participation in parliamentary elections and that the US must “support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process.”

Read more …

More empty gestures.

US May Designate Russia As State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Az.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Department of State would not rule out designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism for its accused atrocities in Ukraine. Report informs that, according to CNN, in an angry line of questioning at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on China on May 16, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Blinken: “You’re never going to designate Russian state sponsored terrorism, are you?” Blinken quickly responded, “never say never.” Lawmakers and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly put pressure on the Biden administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terror, but the Biden administration has not taken that action out of concern for unintended consequences.

Read more …

“..he has also expressed doubt that distancing himself from Putin “would do any good.”

German ex-Chancellor’s Wife Fired For Attending May 9 Celebration (RT)

The wife of former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, So-yeon Schroeder-Kim, has been fired from her position at a business development agency after visiting the Russian Embassy in Berlin to celebrate Victory Day. “Ms. Schroeder-Kim has been released with immediate effect, and the employment relationship will now be terminated by NRW.GlobalBusiness without notice,” a spokeswoman for NRW told German media on Tuesday. The company explained that it had on several occasions explicitly told Schroeder-Kim, who worked there as a representative for South Korea, that she should “not speak out in public on politically sensitive topics,” particularly with regard to Russia and the situation in Ukraine.

The move comes after Schroeder-Kim and her husband visited the Russian Embassy on May 9 to attend a reception dedicated to the 78th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. The event was also attended by other German politicians, including co-chairman of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Tino Chrupalla, and chairman of the Bundestag committee on climate protection and energy and member of the Left Party Klaus Ernst. Schroeder himself has also faced backlash for maintaining close ties with Moscow. The former chancellor forged friendly relations with Russia during his time in office between 1998 and 2005, and has kept in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin throughout the years. Although Schroeder has repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, he has also expressed doubt that distancing himself from Putin “would do any good.”

Shortly after Moscow launched its military campaign, Schroeder personally traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin. He has insisted since that Russia sought a negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict and had vowed to keep seeking “opportunities to talk to President Putin.” The former chancellor’s stance has put him at odds with other members of the ruling Social Democrats Party (SPD), some members of which have recently unsuccessfully demanded his expulsion. The SPD did, however, manage to strip the former leader of his parliamentary privileges last year. Under current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the SPD has sought to reduce the country’s ties with Russia and its reliance on Russian energy. Berlin, under Scholz’s leadership, has also sent billions of dollars worth of military aid to Kiev’s forces throughout the past year.

Read more …

“I wish we could have just a normal human being as president.”

Musk: I’ll Say What I Want And If The Consequence Is Losing Money, So Be It (ZH)

Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk sat down for an hour-long candid, sprawling interview with CNBC’s David Faber on Tuesday following Tesla’s 2023 annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas. Among many other things, Musk reflected on: Accusations from the left over his tweets which have been criticized as lending credence to conspiracies about George Soros and a recent mass shooting event in Allen, Texas, insisting “I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.”


Clearly this displeased Musk’s critics, who can’t comprehend how someone who hopes to receive major ad dollars (and thus be beholden to the largest US corporations via advertising channel) can speak his mind. In fact, according to Bethany McLean, “Elon Musk sounds like a spoiled child when he talks about free speech,” adding that “If you run a business that depends on advertisers you might have to think about it a little bit differently and Musk seems utterly unwilling to make that distinction.” Translation: if you run a business that depends on advertisers, you can’t say anything your advertisers disagree with. Which of course is another way of being subject to the censorship of the establishment, and why traditional media is always silent when certain interests – be it of generous advertisers like Pfizer, or the Deep State, or the Bidens, or the Clintons, etc – are in question.

Musk defended what Faber said was the spreading of “conspiracy theories” by countering that pointing out that so many of these “conspiracy theories have turned out to be true”, and pointed to the Hunter Biden laptop suppression story, which was an example of “election interference.” Naturally, the question of Musk calling George Soros Magnito came up. An incongruous Faber asks where that tweet came from, to which Musk replies “that is my opinion.” Faber then pressed: “why share it” if it could lead to less revenue/sales, and do your tweets “hurt the company”; Musk responds with a quote from the Princess Bride: “offer me money; offer me power. I don’t care.” The sad fact is that all of Musk’s peers in the media world, who aren’t independently wealthy and who do care about money (and power) will gladly be PR agents for their advertising sponsors, pretending to be independent media outlets.


How he has managed a takeover of Twitter so far and what lies ahead. Among other things, he said Twitter’s Community Notes feature has cost Twitter $40 million in business when two big clients reduced spending after their ads received community notes accusing them of false advertising. He also claimed that when the acquisition closed, Twitter had negative $3 billion in annual cash flow and $1 billion in the bank. “The analogy I was using was like being teleported into a plane that’s in a nosedive headed to the ground with the engines on fire and the controls don’t work….” Musk said he voted for Biden but hinted he wasn’t happy with his choice, saying “I wish we could have just a normal human being as president.” Asked if he believes the 2020 election was stolen, Musk said no, but countered that there certainly has been election fraud. Musk even slammed the obvious CIA front Bellingcat. Discussing the recent Texas shooting, Musk said the shooter was “incorrectly described to be a white supremacist. The company that found this is Belingcat. Do you know what Belingcat is? A company that does Psyops.”

Errol Musk
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658536557890895873

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Nordstream evidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spots

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 062023
 


Theodoros Vryzakis The Reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi 1861

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

Wagner chief Evgeny Prigozhin published an open letter to President Putin, Chief of General Staff Gerasimov, the Ministry of Defense, and the Russian people on Friday declaring that his private military company will withdraw from Artyomovsk on 10 May due an absence of ammunition. RT reported that he blamed “paramilitary bureaucrats” for this scandalous state of affairs and requested that his fighters’ positions be replaced by the Russian Army in order to retain their gains there over the past half-year.

Prigozhin has been feuding with the Ministry of Defense over logistics for quite a while already, which has prompted Western observers to speculate that there are either serious problems with Russia’s military-industrial capabilities and/or that this is part of a power play by one of those two. It’s impossible for outside observers to know what’s really going on behind the scenes, but his latest statement makes clear his implied plea for President Putin to establish a modern-day “oprichnina” without delay.

This refers to Ivan the Formidable’s (commonly mistranslated into English as “the Terrible”) special forces that were assembled to root out traitorous elements among the boyars, which were the powerful Russian nobility, amidst their country’s long-running Livonian War at the time. While smeared by Western historians as the Tsar’s unaccountable assassins who allegedly terrorized the population, they’re deeply appreciated by many Russian historians who regard them as patriotic forces.

That second-mentioned interpretation was also shared by Joseph Stalin, who’s on record describing them to famous Soviet cinematographer Sergei Eisenstein as indispensable to the erstwhile Tsar’s crusade against internal threats to Russia’s unity and thus its continued existence as a state. In the present context, officials like former President and incumbent Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev have also described the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine as similarly existential.

By the same token, just like during Ivan the Formidable’s Livonian War, there’s also speculation nowadays during President Putin’s ongoing special operation that some of its setbacks are at the very least partially the result of elite subversion. To be absolutely clear, sharing the preceding opinion isn’t equivalent to extending it credence, but the point in mentioning those rumors is to place Prigozhin’s accusation against “paramilitary bureaucrats” into its historical and contemporary context.

Upon doing so, there’s little doubt that his open letter contains a strongly implied plea for the Russian leader to establish a modern-day oprichnina just like his predecessor did, though it’s presently unclear whether President Putin will agree to this. The publicly proclaimed innuendo that his country has traitorous elements within its elite that are actively subverting the longest battle of the conflict thus far is indisputably inflammatory irrespective of its veracity.

This places the head of state in a dilemma. On the one hand, ignoring Prigozhin’s implied plea could result in those who subscribe to his speculation regarding the Russian leader with suspicion, especially in the event that Kiev takes advantage of Wagner’s impending withdrawal to recapture Artyomovsk. On the other, establishing a modern-day oprichnina (even if its creation is undeclared) and removing those bureaucratic obstacles to Prigozhin’s logistical requests could seemingly confirm that elite traitors exist.

To be sure, the FSB already has the counterintelligence capabilities to root out traitors, but the Wagner chief is strongly implying that it’s either unable or unwilling to do so. That supplementary innuendo is just as inflammatory, if not more, as his suggestion that traitorous elements exist within the Russian elite and are so deeply embedded within the bureaucracy that they might succeed in subverting their side’s victory in the longest battle of the conflict thus far and possibly turning the tide against it as a result.

It’s with the second of these two intertwined narratives in mind that it becomes obvious that he’s calling for the establishment of a modern-day oprichnina that would be independent of the existing security structures and answerable only to President Putin just like their precursor was to his predecessor. Regardless of whether Prigozhin’s intentions are purely patriotic or part of a power play, there’s thus no doubt that he’s requesting fundamental security-sector reform, which will obviously upset some people.

His de facto plea is already sensitive enough as it is, but it’s made all the more so by the immediate political context in which it’s being put forth with respect to Tuesday night’s attempted assassination of President Putin and next week’s Victory Day events. The aforesaid bookend his dual innuendo that was described above and the newfound fears of Russia losing Artyomovsk as a possible result of Wagner’s impending withdrawal, thus maximizing the attention that his implied oprichnina plea receives.

The best-case scenario from the perspective of the state’s interests would be for the Russian Army to successful hold onto Artyomovsk after replacing their Wagner allies, while the latter receive the adequate rest that they require in order to return and fight another day. In the interim, whatever logistical challenges Prigozhin’s company allegedly faced up until this point would hopefully be resolved by that time without having to resort to the establishment of a modern-day oprichnina.

Nevertheless, sometimes events don’t always unfold according to the best-case scenario, so the optimistic sequence of events shared in the prior paragraph shouldn’t be taken for granted. That said, it would be irresponsible to speculate about what else might actually happen since no outside observer in Russia or abroad has the information required to say for certainty what will ultimately transpire. All that can be done is to analyze Prigozhin’s implied plea and the context in which it was made.

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

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

 

May 032023
 


Frida Kahlo Self portrait in a Velvet Dress 1926

 

The US Grip On The Middle East Slips, And Peace Breaks Out (Inlakesh)
What China Is Really Playing at in Ukraine (Pepe Escobar)
‘Bad Weather’ Delaying Counteroffensive – Ukraine (RT)
Why Ukraine’s Much-Anticipated ‘Counteroffensive’ Could End In Failure (RT)
‘Ukraine Will Not Stop Until It Liberates All Occupied Territories’ (Az.)
Russian Army Has Enough Ammo And Kiev’s Losses Mounting – Shoigu (TASS)
Kremlin Mocks & Dismisses White House’s High Russian Casualty Count (ZH)
Top US General Milley Predicts Ukraine Conflict Duration (RT)
German Media Shares Details Of NATO-Ukraine Talks (RT)
Half Of Europe’ Wants Better Ties With Russia – Polish Deputy PM (RT)
US Decided ‘Not To Notice’ That Kiev Hid Truth About Odessa Massacre (TASS)
Defeat of the Enemy Lies in His Own Hands (Crooke)
Poland Explains Plan For WWII Reparations From Russia (RT)
US Biden-Trump Generation Clings To An Outdated Political Reality (Lukyanov)
Judge Orders Hunter Biden to Provide Details on Income (ET)

 

 

 

 

Class action
https://twitter.com/i/status/1653301938346160129

 

 

 

 

America’s grandpa

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said that he didn’t care if the US President had misunderstood things about him, and later in April it was reported he also told advisors that pleasing the Americans is no longer a priority.”

The US Grip On The Middle East Slips, And Peace Breaks Out (Inlakesh)

As Washington’s influence in the Middle East declines, countries throughout the region are taking to compromise, rapprochement, and peace talks, inflicting a blow to the US narrative that seeks to depict its role as a stabilizer and democracy advocate. Under the leadership of US President Joe Biden, there has been a notable downgrade in the status of the West amongst various long-time Middle East allies. As the US-led West exerts the majority of its efforts on the war in Ukraine, its poor decision making in the Middle East has finally begun to catch up to it. The first major blow to Washington’s influence came in the form of a Chinese-mediated agreement to end a decades-long feud between major regional actors Iran and Saudi Arabia, one which led to the severing of ties in 2016. This has a number of implications for US power in the region.

The first being that this collapsed a strategy that the US was developing, to unite Saudi Arabia with the likes of Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, and Israel, against Iran and its allies in the region; the alliance was speculated to serve as a “Middle East NATO.” The second is that the Iran-Saudi rapprochement appears to have caused Riyadh to scrap its plans for normalizing ties with Israel at this time, something that the Biden administration clearly values as a foreign policy achievement. There is also the additional aspect of this being negotiated by Beijing without any regard for how it would reflect on the White House. Despite attempts in Washington to make the deal seem like something it approves of, and repeated remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about how close normalization with Saudi Arabia is, it was clearly a blow and has major consequences to the US approach to the region. In March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said that he didn’t care if the US President had misunderstood things about him, and later in April it was reported he also told advisors that pleasing the Americans is no longer a priority.

Immediately after the Saudi-Iran normalization, Riyadh entered into serious negotiations with Yemen’s Ansarallah (the Houthis), in order to end the war that has been raging between the two sides since 2015 and has claimed around 400,000 lives in the country. To make things worse for the US, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister recently made a trip to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In addition to Riyadh’s moves and Tunisia re-establishing ties with Syria, it also appears as if Ankara may be on the cusp of rapprochement with Damascus and there is a push for Syria to be re-integrated into the Arab League, which clearly runs contrary to the US agenda. Then we have the fact that Qatar has announced it is restoring ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which is not as significant as the above mentioned moves, yet adds to a list of peacemaking decisions taken without America.

On the level of optics, this makes it seem as if the common denominator is the absence of the US. On the other hand, Washington’s development of ties with the Kingdom of Morocco is egging on tensions with neighboring Algeria. Not only is the Biden administration adding fuel to the fire in the diplomatic feud between both sides, but is helping exacerbate military tensions in a Rabat-Algiers arms race. Earlier this April, the US approved a potential $524.2 million sale of HIMARS artillery rocket systems to Morocco. Furthermore, the top Middle East partner of the United States, Israel, has been severely weakened by an ongoing domestic political crisis over a proposed judicial overhaul by the Israeli government. Problems have also arisen with Israel’s approach to issues like maintaining the status quo at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a holy site where neighboring Jordan maintains custodianship, and it has caused major rows between Amman and Tel Aviv in recent months. This presents another obstacle to the US, which is being forced to mediate between both sides to maintain calm.

Assad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1653310462002450433

Read more …

“..the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is the un-dissociable double of an American direct war against the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)..”

What China Is Really Playing at in Ukraine (Pepe Escobar)

Imagine President Xi Jinping mustering undiluted Taoist patience to suffer through a phone call with that warmongering actor in a sweaty T-shirt in Kiev while attempting to teach him a few facts of life – complete with the promise of sending a high-level Chinese delegation to Ukraine to discuss “peace”. There’s way more than meets the discerning eye obscured by this spun-to-death diplomatic “victory” – at least from the point of view of NATOstan. The question is inevitable: what’s the point of this phone call? Very simple: just business. The Beijing leadership is fully aware the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is the un-dissociable double of an American direct war against the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Until recently, and since 2019, Beijing was the top trade partner for Kiev (14.4% of imports, 15.3% of exports).

China essentially exported machinery, equipment, cars and chemical products, importing food products, metals and also some machinery. Very few in the West know that Ukraine joined BRI way back in 2014, and a BRI trade and investment center was operating in Kiev since 2018. BRI projects include a 2017 drive to build the fourth line of the Kiev metro system as well as 4G installed by Huawei. Everything is stalled since 2022. Noble Agri, a subsidiary of COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation), invested in a sunflower seed processing complex in Mariupol and the recently built Mykolaiv grain port terminal. The next step will necessarily feature cooperation between Donbass authorities and the Chinese when it comes to rebuilding their assets that may have been damaged during the war.

Beijing also tried to become heavily involved in the Ukraine defense sector and even buy Motor Sich; that was blocked by Kiev. So what we have in Ukraine, from the Chinese point of view, is a trade/investment cocktail of BRI, railways, military supplies, 4G and construction jobs. And then, the key vector: neon. Roughly half of neon used in the production of semiconductors was supplied, until recently, by two Ukrainian companies; Ingas in Mariupol, and Cryoin, in Odessa. There’s no business going on since the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO). That directly affects the Chinese production of semiconductors. Bets can be made that the Hegemon is not exactly losing sleep over this predicament.

Ukraine does represent value for China as a BRI crossroads. The war is interrupting not only business but, in the bigger picture, one of the trade and connectivity corridors linking Western China to Eastern Europe. BRI conditions all key decisions in Beijing – as it is the overarching concept of Chinese foreign policy way into mid-century. And that explains Xi’s phone call, debunking any NATOstan nonsense on China finally paying attention to the warmongering actor.

Read more …

“God’s will, the weather, and a decision of commanders.”

‘Bad Weather’ Delaying Counteroffensive – Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine is holding off on its long-touted counteroffensive against Russia because it currently cannot use Western-provided armor due to bad weather, Kiev’s ambassador to the UK has claimed. “Obviously, the weather is not allowing so far the heavy tanks to move in the Ukrainian usual spring mud,” Vadim Pristayko told Sky News on Tuesday. The comments mirrored those made last week by Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who stated that Ukrainian forces were broadly ready for a push against Russia but needed “God’s will, the weather, and a decision of commanders.” The US and its allies have sent dozens of main battle tanks and hundreds of armored vehicles to Ukraine to bolster the expected counteroffensive.

While Western officials have argued that Kiev has all it needs for a successful operation, behind closed doors the American military has reportedly expressed doubts about Ukraine’s ability to break through Russian defensive lines. Multiple Western media reports have suggested that the counteroffensive could be a make-or-break moment for the conflict, and that Kiev may find it difficult to secure further packages of military assistance unless it gains significant ground. Senior Ukrainian officials have criticized that notion, urging continued support regardless of the outcome. Pristayko told Sky that Ukraine is targeting “a breakthrough offensive,” but at the same time cautioned that “too much hope is put on this one.”

The envoy accused Moscow of exaggerating its own military capabilities, citing the latest missile strikes against Ukrainian targets as an example. Russians “are blowing it out of proportion reporting hundreds of rockets. In reality there were just dozens of them sent our way,” he insisted. The claim that up to 100 missiles were launched in a recent attack by Russia appears to have originated from Ukrainian official Sergey Shakhet, police chief in Nikolaev Region. He shared the figure on social media on Monday, with Ukrainian media later disseminating it. The Russian Defense Ministry did not mention the number of weapons used in its own report on the strikes.

Read more …

“..As soon as Ukraine’s previously hidden equipment was moved closer to the front line, it became easier to destroy..”

Why Ukraine’s Much-Anticipated ‘Counteroffensive’ Could End In Failure (RT)

Talk about a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has been doing the rounds for months, but it is still not clear when it might begin or whether it will happen at all. Previously, RT analyzed the readiness of the AFU for such an operation, but this time we will discuss the main challenges that may prevent Kiev’s troops from implementing or developing its political leaderships aims. And, perhaps most importantly, those of its Western sponsors. What is the AFU’s main challenge in mounting this sort of endeavor? We currently do not have any idea of where the AFU’s counteroffensive could take place, although Russian military bosses will be well aware of troop movements. If it involves an attempt to breakthrough the front line, then in addition to preparing reserves for battle, the AFU will need high-precision weapons.

Ukrainian troops will have to use long-range artillery rocket systems, including the US-supplied M142 HIMARS MLRS. Since the start of Moscow’s offensive, Kiev has used these systems only from deep within its own territory. However, to achieve momentum and penetrate the defense line, the systems will have to be moved closer to the front. The current number of HIMARS rocket launchers (about 35 units) may not be enough for a counteroffensive along the entire front line, which stretches for 1,000km. The systems will probably be concentrated in just one or two directions, but this makes them easier to detect and destroy. Moreover, Ukraine only has a finite supply of missiles for most of its Western weapons systems, like the HIMARS, which means the manner in which they can be used is limited. These systems have never been tested in high-intensity conflicts.

There is currently no doctrine or tested recommendations on using HIMARS/M270 MLRS in combined arms warfare or in such a large-scale war against a technologically advanced enemy. Considering the risk of detection in areas with concentrated equipment, and Ukraine’s fear of losing reserves, as we see happening in Artemovsk (Bakhmut), the AFU will likely prepare its most important military formations from 12 to 36 hours before the main strike. In the present conditions, it is nearly impossible to amass enough fuel and ammunition. Not to mention the difficulties in trying to position people secretly. Russia has already used Lancet drones to hit German Gepard anti-aircraft guns and Soviet S-300 missile systems close to the front line. As soon as Ukraine’s previously hidden equipment was moved closer to the front line, it became easier to destroy.

This demonstrates that the routes used for transporting Ukrainian military equipment and the places where it is positioned are under Russian surveillance. If the AFU loses significant amounts of fuel – or transport equipment or engineering units – in the first two or three days, it will have to adjust the counteroffensive’s strategy on the go or implement a backup plan (if it has one). Moreover, Ukraine has no means of transferring reserves by air or conducting amphibious warfare. Its supply and logistics fully depend on roads and railways. In such conditions, the destruction of a bridge or a train line on an important supply route may lead to a disaster at the front.

Read more …

“I am confident that our partners will make the necessary decisions and we will receive the F16.”

‘Ukraine Will Not Stop Until It Liberates All Occupied Territories’ (Az.)

Ukraine will not stop until it liberates all the temporarily occupied territories, and is currently preparing for counteroffensive operations, Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, said during a conversation with journalists of the Dutch national TV channel NOS and the NRC newspaper, Report informs. He said that partner countries should continue and strengthen their support to Ukraine. Andriy Yermak said that the troops of the Russian Federation continue to launch missile attacks on civilian infrastructure and civilians in Ukrainian cities, and this has been going on for more than 14 months. “They want to destroy Ukrainians, the Ukrainian nation. But our people, our military are heroic and brave, and we continue not only to defend our land, but also to liberate the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories,” he said.


The Head of the President’s Office noted that Ukraine is currently preparing for counteroffensive operations and therefore needs more and more weapons. He noted that Ukraine needs long-range missiles and modern aircraft to liberate the temporarily occupied territories: “Everything changes, and Ukraine has changed many things. I am confident that our partners will make the necessary decisions and we will receive the F16.” “The people of Ukraine have made a decision – we want to be in NATO. Now about 80% of our population supports this move,” he added. According to Andriy Yermak, the decision on Ukraine’s accession to NATO is the best way to speed up the end of the war and guarantee peace in Europe.

Read more …

“Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation that rolls out missile systems, anti-ship, anti-radar and other missiles, has launched the mass production of new weapons..”

Russian Army Has Enough Ammo And Kiev’s Losses Mounting – Shoigu (TASS)

Russian forces have already received sufficient ammunition for effectively inflicting damage on the enemy by firepower and the domestic defense industry generally meets the requirements of the Army and the Navy, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a conference call with military commanders on Tuesday. In April, Kiev lost over 15,000 troops and 430 armored vehicles in battles. Therefore, the Kiev regime’s manpower losses increased by a third compared to February (the Russian Defense Ministry did not report about the Kiev regime’s military personnel losses in March). TASS has put together the highlights of the Russian defense minister’s speech.

“The Russian Armed Forces are conducting active operations along the entire engagement line. Despite the unprecedented military assistance from Western countries, the enemy is sustaining heavy losses.” According to the data of the Russian Defense Ministry, in the past month alone, the Kiev regime lost over 15,000 troops, eight combat aircraft and 277 unmanned aerial vehicles, 430 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 18 multiple rocket launchers and 225 artillery guns and mortars. As the data indicate, Ukraine’s manpower losses proved to be higher in April than in February while equipment losses exceeded the January figures (the latest information publicly reported by the Russian Defense Ministry), although Ukraine lost more aircraft at that time.

“As a whole, the defense industry meets the requirements of the Army and the Navy.” Compared to early 2022, the amount of purchased basic armaments grew by 170% and “especially needed weapons” by seven times, the defense chief said. “This year, a sufficient amount of ammunition has been delivered to the Armed Forces for inflicting effective damage on the enemy by firepower.” In addition, Russian military specialists have achieved successes in recovering damaged or broken military hardware and preventing equipment breakdowns, the defense minister said. “Presently, the daily amount of repaired armaments exceeds the amount of broken equipment in the proportion of three to two. Thanks to organizational measures taken, the amount of unfit equipment subject to repairs has dwindled by 1.5 times,” he said.

Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation that rolls out missile systems, anti-ship, anti-radar and other missiles, has launched the mass production of new weapons. “With regard to some latest weapon systems, the corporation has switched over to serial production, having finished all the R&D stages within the shortest time possible,” Shoigu said. As a whole, “the enterprise fulfils the defense procurement plan within the established timeframe” but today it is necessary to “double the production of precision weapons within the shortest time possible.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1653349439082209280

Read more …

Remember: Ukraine losses are 7-8x higher than Russia’s.

Kremlin Mocks & Dismisses White House’s High Russian Casualty Count (ZH)

The Kremlin has reacted to a Monday briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby wherein he issued a surprisingly high estimate of Russian casualties which he said took place since December in the contested Donetsk city of Bakhmut. He said Russian forces have suffered over 100,000 total casualties – including about 20,000 soldiers killed in combat and another 80,000 wounded. In response, Dmitry Peskov mocked and dismissed these figures on Tuesday, saying the White House is pulling the numbers out of a hat, and further stressed the US cannot possibly know any of this. “Pulling out figures out of a hat, Washington does not have the opportunity to give any correct figures, they do not have such data, this is how it should be treated” Peskov said, as cited in national media. “It is necessary to focus only on those figures that are published in a timely manner by the Russian Defense Ministry,” he added.

Interestingly, when in the Monday press briefing Kirby was asked the NSC spokesman refused to give casualty numbers for the Ukrainian side. “I’m not ever going to put anything out in the public domain that’s going to make their job harder,” Kirby said. “They are the victims here. Russia is the aggressor.” As we explained previously, while very clearly Bakhmut has for months been in truth a “meat-grinder” for both sides, the US is likely offering this staggering and large Russian casualty count of 100,000 in order to establish a ‘pyrrhic victory’ narrative. Kirby admitted the Russians are winning in Bakhmut, but wants to paint a picture of it losing the overall conflict given the massive cost and sacrifice for Bakhmut. The independent geopolitical analysis site Moon of Alabama wrote days ago:

“Bakhmut/Aryomovsk is to 90% under Russian control and the rest will be captured during the next few days. Ukrainian losses in the city must have been huge. The Ukrainian troops who try to escape from the city immediately come under artillery fire. The latest daily Russian clobber report counts 575 ‘enemy losses’ in Bakhmut over the last 24 hours for a total of 815 along the whole frontline. This is the largest number reported over the last two months.” Meanwhile, a Tuesday briefing by Russia’s defense chief has painted a grim picture for the Ukrainian side. According to his words: “Russian forces have already received sufficient ammunition for effectively inflicting damage on the enemy by firepower and the domestic defense industry generally meets the requirements of the Army and the Navy, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a conference call with military commanders on Tuesday.”

“In April, Kiev lost over 15,000 troops and 430 armored vehicles in battles,” he said as cited in TASS. “Therefore, the Kiev regime’s manpower losses increased by a third compared to February (the Russian Defense Ministry did not report about the Kiev regime’s military personnel losses in March),” the state publication said.

Read more …

“..he argued that “rational folks” in Moscow would be convinced “over either months or a year or two” to negotiate, “because they’re not going to win.”

Top US General Milley Predicts Ukraine Conflict Duration (RT)

The US has helped train and equip the Ukrainian military for the upcoming operations, whether offensive or defensive, but the fighting is unlikely to produce a clear winner in 2023, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told the outlet Foreign Affairs on a podcast that aired on Tuesday. Asked what he expected of the much-heralded Ukrainian counteroffensive, Milley told Foreign Affairs that the US and its European NATO partners have helped Ukraine train and equip “about nine brigades worth of combined arms, armor, and mech[anized] infantry type forces” over the past several months, as well as some light infantry. Kiev’s forces “right now have the capability to attack, they can conduct offensive operations, and they also have the capability to defend, significantly enhanced from what they were just a year ago for conventional operations,” he said.

“They’ve got a significant amount of planning and coordination and all of that to do, if they were to do an offensive operation.” According to Milley, if the Ukrainians do launch an offensive, anything is possible, from collapsing the Russian front entirely to no success at all. “I do think, though, that the probability of either side achieving their political objectives – war is about politics through the sole use of military means – I think that’s going to be very difficult, very challenging. And frankly, I don’t think the probability of that is likely in this year.” Milley claimed the Russian military had suffered 250,000 casualties and that the army, society and economy have all been severely impacted by the conflict. He would not speculate about Ukrainian casualties. The Kremlin has laughed off US estimates of Russian deaths as fabricated “out of nowhere.”

The US general stuck by those claims, however, and also asserted that Russia had “failed” to achieve any of its objectives in Ukraine. Based on that, he argued that “rational folks” in Moscow would be convinced “over either months or a year or two” to negotiate, “because they’re not going to win.” Congressman Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Monday that the offensive needed to present a success so the West could keep funding Kiev, “after which we can then maybe have negotiations, to finally resolve this.” The bulk of the podcast was devoted to China, with Milley arguing that the US “should do what it can to make sure” that Russia and China don’t set up a strategic military alliance. He dismissed the present level of military ties between Moscow and Beijing as “very, very modest.” Milley also maintained that both Russia and China were aware of the US military might and did not wish a direct confrontation with Washington.

Read more …

“..it’s known that France, Germany, and countries in Western Europe, in general, have always been against Ukraine joining either the EU or NATO.”

German Media Shares Details Of NATO-Ukraine Talks (RT)

Washington and Berlin aren’t ready to make any promises to Kiev regarding Ukraine’s future NATO membership, German news agency dpa has reported. Ukraine’s hopes of joining the US-led military bloc anytime soon are likely to be shattered, the agency claimed on Tuesday. According to dpa’s information, the bloc’s key players such as the US and Germany recently made it clear to Kiev behind closed doors that they currently don’t want to make any further commitments on the issue, beyond the vague NATO declaration of 2008. Back then, the leaders of the NATO member-states said that Ukraine and another former Soviet republic, Georgia, should join the bloc, but didn’t provide any timetable for the accession of either.

During his visit to Kiev last month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.” He also projected that “over time, our support will help to make this possible,” but refrained from saying when exactly Ukraine’s NATO membership is going to happen. However, a few days later, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius suggested that “this is not the time to decide” about Ukraine’s place in NATO. The bloc’s members should consider this issue “with a cool head and a hot heart. Not the other way around,” Pistorius said. The German minister’s comments have angered Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, who claimed that “it’s known that France, Germany, and countries in Western Europe, in general, have always been against Ukraine joining either the EU or NATO.”

Earlier this week Gitanas Nauseda, the president of another NATO member-state, Lithuania, said that it “would be too difficult” to make Ukraine a member of the bloc as long as the conflict with Russia continues. The Kiev government is also well aware of this, he added. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s top adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, has recently reiterated Kiev’s desire to join the alliance, claiming that it would be impossible to restore security in Europe without “the country’s full membership in NATO.” Moscow, which sees NATO’s eastward expansion as a major security threat, had singled out Ukraine’s push to join the bloc among the main reasons for launching its military operation against Kiev more than a year ago.

Read more …

“..lamented the fact that there is still a “threat” that relations between Russia and EU countries could return to the way they were before the current rift..”

Half Of Europe’ Wants Better Ties With Russia – Polish Deputy PM (RT)

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski has lamented the fact that there is still a “threat” that relations between Russia and EU countries could return to the way they were before the current rift. He blasted opposition parties in Poland, as well as “half of Europe,” for harboring hopes of improving ties with Moscow.= Speaking to the Kurier Lubelski news outlet, Glinski was asked if he believed that Warsaw was “in danger” of returning to “naive” politics when, for example, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was invited to meet with Polish ambassadors in Warsaw in 2010 in an effort to improve bilateral relations. “Unfortunately, the threat of a return to these relationships still exists,” he replied.

Glinski claimed that the government’s “political rivals” as well as their voters are “hostage to interest groups that only think about ending the war in Ukraine as soon as possible and continue to be a client of Russia and do business with it,” adding that “half of Europe is like that, waiting for it.” The deputy prime minister’s comments come as Polish Secretary of State Marcin Przydacz also told the Financial Times on Tuesday that Warsaw plans to demand World War II reparations from Russia, just as it has done from Germany, from which it is requesting some €1.3 trillion ($1.43 trillion). “We treat Berlin and Moscow in a different-civilization way,” Przydacz told the outlet, noting that once there is “success” in squeezing cash out of Germany, the next step would be to “launch such a discussion with the other oppressor.”

Brussels, meanwhile, has accused Poland of sliding towards authoritarianism under its current leadership, while Jana Puglierin, the head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, suggested that the right-wing PiS party is prioritizing electoral success rather than focusing on establishing constructive relationships. Moscow has responded to the recent comments from Warsaw by stating that “nothing good” can be expected in Russian-Polish relations in the near future. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted on Tuesday that “Russophobia,” which has “gripped” the minds of Polish authorities “absolutely deprives them of sobriety in their approach to everything related to Russia” and prevents them from taking “intelligible or thoughtful steps.”

Read more …

“Illusions disappeared, the country by leaps and bounds began to turn into a copy of the Nazi Reich..”

US Decided ‘Not To Notice’ That Kiev Hid Truth About Odessa Massacre (TASS)

The US preferred to “not notice” that Kiev destroyed evidence and hid the truth about the tragedy in the Odessa House of Trade Unions that took place on May 2, 2014, the Russian embassy in Washington said in a statement on Tuesday. The embassy stated that “May 2 marks the nine-year anniversary since the date of the tragic events in Odessa.” “On this day in 2014, a brutal crowd of Ukrainian fanatics committed a merciless murder of several dozen civilians. Like Nazi castigators, these extremists drove defenseless people, among them – women and elderly, into the House of Trade Unions with sticks and steel bars, and then set it on fire with Molotov cocktails. At least 48 people were burned to death, poisoned by carbon monoxide or died after jumping out of windows. Hundreds were seriously injured. Their only ‘fault’ was their disagreement with the aggressive policies of the neo-Nazis who came to power and their desire to remain Russian,” the statement said.


“Contrary to the promises by the Kiev regime to investigate this barbaric crime and punish those responsible, the authorities did everything to hide the truth and destroy the evidence, to allow organizers and effecters to avoid justice. In the United States, they decided not to notice this. And the local so-called human rights activists, in fact, covered up the Odessa executioners and tormentors all these years,” the statement said. “The Odessa tragedy will forever remain one of the most shameful pages in the history of Ukraine. Supporters of the Kiev junta applauded the brutal massacre, glorifying the unbridled radicals as ‘patriots.’ Under the influence of a nationalist frenzy, human life in the country has completely lost its value.”

“It is clear now that the bloody massacre in Odessa is a point of no return. Illusions disappeared, the country by leaps and bounds began to turn into a copy of the Nazi Reich. Bandera’s heirs launched a punitive military operation against the inhabitants of Donbass, with crimes against the civilian population committed en masse. Terror against dissidents, censorship and discrimination has become the basis of state policy on the territory controlled by Kiev,” the Russian diplomats said. “The progressive disease of the Ukrainian state demanded a tough rebuff. A special military operation is aimed at its denazification and demilitarization. It is a guarantee that tragedies like the one in Odessa will never happen again,” the statement said.


Radicals from the Right Sector (banned in Russia) and the Maidan uprising’s so-called self-defense force attacked a tent camp on the Kulikovo Field in Odessa on May 2, 2014, where residents were collecting signatures for a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine and giving the Russian language status as an official language. Supporters of federalization took refuge in the House of Trade Unions, but the radicals surrounded the building and set it on fire. According to official data from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, 48 people were killed, and more than 240 were injured in those events. The government pinned the blame for the riots solely on the opponents of the uprising. However, the investigation, which lasted several years, could not prove their guilt in court. As a result, all those who were initially detained in the case were later acquitted.

Read more …

‘Securing Ourselves Is in Our Hands; and Defeat of the Enemy Lies in His Own Hands’

(Sun Tzu, d. 496 BCE)

Defeat of the Enemy Lies in His Own Hands (Crooke)

Whilst the structural shift to a multipolar world is now well understood in geo-political terms, its other dimensions are little noticed. The media focus is so much centred on the military situation in Ukraine that it is easily overlooked that President Putin has also been fighting a financial war – a war on liberal economic theory; and a diplomatic war for the support of the non-West and from key strategic allies, China and India. On top of that, Putin has to manage the psyche inside Russia. His objective is to restore patriotism and a Russian national culture reconnected to its roots in Orthodox Christianity. To achieve this, he needs to let it evolve in a civil context – To allow the military aspect to become all-encompassing would be to skew the Russian consciousness in a very particular way.

President Putin has spoken on several occasions of the need for ‘civil Russia’ to have the oxygen to evolve in its own way – by re-appropriating its past cultural legacy in new form – and for that process not to be wholly subsumed into military needs and ethos. So, the project is, in fact, wholly multi-faceted – although undoubtedly, the struggle to restore respect for sovereignty and for autonomy in internal affairs represents the project ‘key stone’. Yet, a significant part to re-appropriating sovereignty requires the shift of Russia’s economic structure out from the grip of the ‘Anglo’ neo-liberal model, to one that provides for greater national self-sufficiency. Hence, the simple questioning of the philosophical underpinnings to the ‘Anglo’ system of politics and economics – which underlie the Rules Order – is as important, in its own way, as the Ukrainian battlefield.

Like any system, the World Order rests on philosophical principles believed to be universal, but which, in truth, are specific to a particular moment in European history. Today, the West is not ‘what it was’. It is a fractured ideological battlespace. The Rest of World is not ‘what it was’. And today’s ideological western writhings are no longer viewed as being of primary concern to the World. The point here, however, is about a project designed to bring change to that which has not changed. It is as much a war for global psyche as of attrition on the battlefront (though that, too, is a vital component in shifting the global zeitgeist). If a multi-polar order is to be built based on self-sufficient sovereignty, others should exit the neo-liberal economic system too (if they can). Hence the need for a major diplomatic initiative by Russia and China to build a strategic depth for a new economics.

Where Putin and Xi Jinping come together … is their shared appreciation of China’s astonishing sprint to the ranks of an economic superpower. In Putin’s words, China “managed in the best possible way, in my opinion, to use the levers of central administration (for) the development of a market economy … The Soviet Union did nothing like this, and the results of an ineffective economic policy impacted the political sphere”. Washington and Brussels clearly doesn’t ‘get it’. And Yellen’s speech is the prime ‘exhibit’ of this analytic failure: The West had understood the Soviet implosion and to the financial mayhem of the Yeltsin years in precisely the opposite way to Xi’s analysis, and to Putin’s concurrence with Xi’s harsh verdict. Plainly put, Xi and Putin’s assessment is that the Russian disaster was the result of the turn to western liberalism, whereas Yellen clearly sees China’s ‘error’ – for which she chides it – is in the move away from the ‘liberal’ world system.

Read more …

Hard to believe. 26 million dead AND pay war reparations?

Poland Explains Plan For WWII Reparations From Russia (RT)

Poland could demand World War II reparations from Russia but only if it persuades Germany to pay a similar bill first, a senior official in Warsaw has said. Berlin has thus far rejected a €1.3 trillion ($1.43 trillion) claim from Poland over the Nazi occupation, arguing that the issue has long been settled. “We treat Berlin and Moscow in a different-civilization way,” Polish Secretary of State Marcin Przydacz told the Financial Times in an article published on Tuesday. “Once there will be a success with Germany, the next step could be to launch such a discussion with the other oppressor.” Demanding reparations has become a key aspect of Polish foreign policy under the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS). Berlin has said it accepts moral responsibility for Nazi crimes and continues to make direct payments to Holocaust survivors in Poland, but argues that other financial claims were settled in the 1950s.

Warsaw has insisted that it was short-changed due to the USSR’s desire to move on from the conflict. Warsaw sent a formal note to Berlin with reparation demands last October. Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the time that he did not see any reason why his country should not do the same with Russia. Warsaw is locked in a broader dispute with Berlin over what it perceives to be outsized German influence on EU affairs. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of PiS, claimed in 2021 that Berlin was morphing the EU into a “Fourth Reich.” Brussels, meanwhile, has accused Poland of a slide towards authoritarianism under its current leadership, and further angered Warsaw by initially declining to approve Covid-19 funding from the bloc.

Jana Puglierin, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, told the FT that PiS appeared to prioritize electoral success rather than “having a constructive relationship [with Germany].” “Overall in terms of trust I feel the German-Polish relationship is at its lowest level since 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall,” Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund’s office in Warsaw, said of the situation. The FT noted that despite any political tensions, Germany has opted to deploy long-range anti-aircraft systems in Poland amid the conflict in Ukraine. Warsaw has accused Berlin of not doing enough to support Kiev and previously criticized Germany for buying cheap Russian gas. Experts told the newspaper that economic interconnection could alleviate the political standoff between Warsaw and Berlin.

Read more …

“Trump may seem to be outside the club, with his “America First” discourse challenging the globalist aspirations of the American ruling class. But his place in history is not in doubt, for he too has not challenged US hegemony..”

US Biden-Trump Generation Clings To An Outdated Political Reality (Lukyanov)

Joe Biden has decided to continue fighting the battle for America’s soul and has announced his intention to run for a second term as President. If he is successful, he will be 82 years old on Inauguration Day, overtaking himself in the rankings of the oldest US leaders to take office. By the end of his presidency, if all goes well, Biden would be 86. Age is no longer a burden in the modern world, and practices and techniques encouraging active longevity are widespread and effective. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will be 98 in two months, and like a lion he continues to fight for the rights of the opposition against his former associates. Henry Kissinger will celebrate his centenary in a month’s time, but his judgments are often retold and treated as important observations.

By comparison to these figures, Biden is still in his prime. Angry tongues, however, say that the problem is not his age, but the cognitive state of the president, who often greets the void, hears voices and forgets where he is. But let’s face it, Biden’s political line is pretty consistent and logical. And it is not a consequence of dementia, but of a certain ideological and strategic approach. How right it is and what it will lead to is another question, but it is being pursued consciously and not under the influence of apparitions. In any case, there is a good chance of a rematch in 2024. Donald Trump, who is currently in the lead for the Republican nomination, would face an opponent he lost to in 2020. Even if he has never fully acknowledged the defeat. Trump will be 77 on Election Day. The former president is noticeably more active and mentally sharper than his potential rival and appears to still be in possession of all his powers. However, Biden also looked very different, just a few years ago, but eventually broke down.

The elections are still a year and a half away, which in the current circumstances is a very long time, not just for the patriarchs themselves, but for everyone else too. A lot can change suddenly. But if these two candidates make it to the final stage, what form will the eventual long generational transition take? We would venture to guess that behind the political longevity of this age cohort which, excluding Obama, under whom Biden played the role of ‘uncle’, has been running the United States since the early 1990s is a fixed agenda. And this, strangely enough, is international, despite the fact that foreign policy issues play little role in real American politics. The first member of the Trump-Biden generation to hold high office was Bill Clinton, and he was given the opportunity to implement a unipolar, US-centric world order. This framework has remained in place ever since.

Although the structure and state of the international system have changed qualitatively, the consciousness of the American establishment – which aims to preserve and strengthen the old system – has not budged. Trump may seem to be outside the club, with his “America First” discourse challenging the globalist aspirations of the American ruling class. But his place in history is not in doubt, for he too has not challenged US hegemony. The Republican differs from his predecessors or from Biden in that he openly wants to make his country’s central role a profitable affair, discarding conventionality. Nevertheless, by no means would he give it up. American world dominance is now under intense pressure. It is not only the emergence of rivals challenging the hegemon. These shifts are very different, but they have in common a rejection of claims to leadership, especially American dominance. In other words, a global “material resistance” effect has emerged.

Read more …

“..If the press comes up with those things, I can’t control that. I can’t gag the world..”

Judge Orders Hunter Biden to Provide Details on Income (ET)

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden may have paid the mother of his 4-year-old daughter up to $750,000 in child support since March 2020, said one of his attorneys at a hearing. Hunter Biden appeared in Independence County Circuit Court in Batesville, Arkansas, on May 1 as ordered by the judge overseeing the child support dispute between the president’s 53-year-old son and Lunden Roberts. Roberts is the Arkansas woman who, according to court filings, had a relationship with Hunter and gave birth to a baby girl in August 2018. She sued for support in 2019. At first Hunter Biden denied that the child was his, but a DNA test confirmed he is the father. On March 12, 2020, he and Roberts agreed to an undisclosed amount in monthly child support to begin on April 1, 2020.

Terms of the agreement are sealed because they contain sensitive personal information, including the amount of monthly support and each party’s source of income. Hunter Biden asked the court to review the child support arrangement the following September because his financial status had changed. During a discussion of the discovery process, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe David Lowell, said his client has been paying $20,000 monthly, more than $700,000 since the support order was signed. Judge Holly Meyer clarified during the May 1 hearing that any information discussed in open court was a matter of public record. Lowell’s remarks came after he and attorney Brent Langdon of Dallas, Texas, complained that news outlets had published information from sealed court files.

He said news reports referenced tax files, information on Hunter Biden’s cars, and other things that had been redacted. “How is it that things that are redacted in the file are released to the Daily Mail? There are matters that are being redacted that are getting out to the daily news,” Langdon said. Meyer said that, without proof someone was illegally releasing information, there was little she could do. Journalists and the public often speculate on matters and may come close to guessing what is in a sealed file, she added. “If the press comes up with those things, I can’t control that. I can’t gag the world,” Meyer said. The judge ordered Hunter Biden to provide information on his income from his artwork, investments, employment, gifts from friends, and other sources. She also ordered Roberts to provide information on the value of her property and income while working with her father’s business.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Origami
https://twitter.com/i/status/1653388335807594497

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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