Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907
Is unexpected death the #1 cause of death for 2022?
Jimmy Dore WMD
“There is one less traitor in Ukraine..”
• Zelensky’s Campaign of Assassination, Kidnapping And Torture of Opposition (GZ)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his country’s war against Russia as a battle for democracy itself. In a carefully choreographed address to US Congress on March 16, Zelensky stated, “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.” US corporate media has responded by showering Zelensky with fawning press, driving a campaign for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and inspiring a flamboyant musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military during the 2022 Grammy awards ceremony on April 3. Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia.
Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia. “There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia. Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.
The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents. On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.
While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics. “The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government,” a left-wing activist beaten and persecuted by Ukraine’s security services commented this April. “We must all fear for our freedom and our lives.”
Yesh, the Russians want to kill all the Russians.
• Zelenskiy Says Russia Wants To ‘Destroy’ Ukraine’s Entire Donbas Region (G.)
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russia of wanting to “destroy” the entire eastern region of Donbas, as the last remaining forces in the strategic port of Mariupol prepared on Monday for a final defence. While also shelling the capital Kyiv and second-city Kharkiv in the past 24 hours, Moscow is pushing for a major victory in the southern city as it works to wrest control of Donbas and forge a land corridor to already-annexed Crimea. But Ukraine has pledged to fight on and defend the city, defying a Russian ultimatum on Sunday that called on the remaining fighters inside the encircled Azovstal steel plant to lay down their arms and surrender. Ukrainian authorities have urged people in Donbas to move west to escape a large-scale Russian offensive to capture its composite regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
“Russian troops are preparing for an offensive operation in the east of our country in the near future. They want to literally finish off and destroy Donbas,” Zelenskiy said in an evening statement, in which he also repeated a plea for foreign governments to send weapons for his troops. Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukraine’s unexpectedly fierce resistance since Russian troops invaded the former Soviet state on 24 February. “The city still has not fallen,” the prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said on Sunday. “There’s still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end,” he told ABC’s This Week. “We will not surrender.” While several large cities were under siege, he said, not one – with the exception of Kherson in the south – had fallen, and more than 900 towns and cities had been recaptured.
Following Ukrainian fighters’ refusal to surrender Mariupol, Russian troops will reportedly close the city for entry and exit on Monday and issue “movement passes” to those who remain, an adviser to the mayor has said. [..] Meanwhile, Ukraine has completed a questionnaire that will form a starting point for the European Union to decide on its membership. “Today, I can say that the document has been completed by the Ukrainian side,” Ihor Zhovkva, the deputy head of Zelenskiy’s office, told the Ukrainian public broadcaster on Sunday. The European Commission would need to issue a recommendation on Ukraine’s compliance with the necessary membership criteria, he added “We expect the recommendation … to be positive, and then the ball will be on the side of the EU member states.”
“They were aware that an operation was to be launched against the Republics of the Donbas..”
• US, EU Sacrificing Ukraine To ‘Weaken Russia’: Jacques Baud (Maté)
JACQUES BAUD: Well, I think we have to understand, as you know, that the war in fact hasn’t started on 24 February this year. It started already in 2014. But I think that the Russians always hoped that this conflict could be solved on a political level, in fact; I mean the Minsk agreements and all that. So, basically what led to the decision to launch an offensive in the Donbas was not what happened since 2014. There was a trigger for that, and the trigger is two things; I mean, it came in two phases, if you want.
The first is the decision and the law adopted by [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy in March 2021—that means last year—to reconquer Crimea by force, and that started a build-up of the Russian armored for…not the Russian, [rather] the Ukrainian armored forces in the southern parts of the country. And so, I think the Russians were perfectly aware of this build-up. They were aware that an operation was to be launched against the Republics of the Donbas, but they did not know when, and, of course, they were just observing that, and then came the real trigger.
You may remember that—I think it was on the 16th of February—Joe Biden, during a press conference, told that he knew that the Russians would attack. And how would he know that? Because I still have some contacts, and nobody actually thought that the Russians—before end of January, beginning of February—I think nobody thought that the Russians would attack Ukraine. So, there must have been something that made Biden aware that the Russians would attack.
And this something, in fact, is the intensification of the artillery shelling of the Donbas starting on the 16th of February, and this increase in the shelling was observed, in fact, by the [Border] Observer Mission of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe], and they recorded this increase of violation, and it’s a massive violation. I mean, we are talking about something that is about 30 times more than what it used to be, because the last eight years you had a lot of violations from both sides, by the way. But suddenly on the 16th of February you had a massive increase of violation on the Ukrainian side. So, for the Russians, Vladimir Putin in particular, that was the sign that the operation—the Ukrainian operation—was about to start.
And then everything started; I mean, all the events came very quickly. That means that if we look at the figures, you can see that there’s, as I said, a massive increase from the 16th-17th, and then it reached kind of a maximum on the 18th of February, and that was continuing.
The bigger picture.
“..and the unacceptable assaults the Kiev regime was inflicting on the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass region..”
• Ukraine Conflict Marks End of Era Dominated by Western Power (SCF)
A sure sign of the bigger dimensions is the way the U.S., NATO, and European allies have rapidly deployed a total hybrid war on Russia, in an attempt to destroy the latter’s economy. The Western claims about “defending democracy, sovereignty, and international law” are contemptible and fraudulent. By funneling weapons to a repressive, corrupt regime whose military is infested with Nazi regiments? No, the U.S. and its Western allies are using the conflict – one which Russia assiduously tried to avoid by making reasonable appeals for security treaties with NATO – as an opportunity to crush Russia. And it’s not simply about crushing Russia. It’s about crushing any challenge to the Western order. That inevitably involves confrontation with China and others who seek to defy the “Washington Consensus”.
The draconian censorship of Russia’s international media outlets and the blockade on Russia’s economy indicates a full-court campaign of hostility from Western powers that were ready to go. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine on February 24 – based on plausible principles of self-defense – provided the launchpad for pent-up Western hostility. But this hostility is not merely towards Russia. It is aimed at confronting the emergence of a multipolar world order that is beyond the control of U.S.-led dominance. That dominance – or hegemony – is based on U.S. control of the global financial system as well as on brute American military power, assisted by its NATO adjuncts.
Russia’s immediate concerns about Ukraine were based on the increasing threat that this western neighboring country posed from its treacherous involvement with NATO and the unacceptable assaults the Kiev regime was inflicting on the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass region over the past nearly eight years. But by defending those national concerns, the military intervention in Ukraine has also challenged the entire system of the U.S.-dominated Western order. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov remarked on this end-of-era development. He told Russian media this week: “Our special military operation aims to put an end to the unfettered expansions and unfettered course towards total domination of the U.S. and other Western states under it on the international arena.” It is worth reflecting on his reasoning of why the duplicity and hypocrisy of Western powers had become intolerable, and why such unipolar arrogance was, and is, destroying the international order.
Google translation from French.
• Chinese-Style Social Credit Comes To The Heart Of Europe (CP)
I am fully aware that when I mentioned the establishment in the medium term of a “compulsory citizen wallet” in the pipeline in Europe and in France, with all the possible inherent “improvements” (rewards and sanctions), this could naturally to be excessive for some: “A virtuous citizen rewarded versus a bad citizen stigmatized or penalized, none of that with us! Not in a democracy, land of free thought, freedom of conscience and free will (under cover of respect for the law!)” It does not please me at all to quote Lenin: “Facts are stubborn! Unfortunately, both for myself and for those who could rightly doubt the foresight of my remarks, the Chinese-style social credit that I was announcing will set a first foothold in our European democracies. The first Europeans to try the experiment were our Italian neighbors and cousins… The local Italian press is starting to talk about it. Social credit rewarding “the virtuous citizen” will soon be introduced in Bologna with the so-called smart citizen wallet .
Naturally it will initially be on a voluntary basis, of course it will initially be on an experimental basis… It is however mentioned that the proposed portfolio will aim to give maximum benefits to virtuous citizens … When we remember that the Chinese-style restrictions were introduced in Europe through Italy, as China continued to put pressure on one of the most dramatically affected European countries , is there no what to be a little more alarmed about? As reported by the Corriere newspaper in Bologna , the establishment of the Portfolio of the Virtuous Citizen is planned after the summer of 2022. Massimo Bugani who had worked on the project with the Raggi administration explains that the idea is similar to the mechanism of a collection of supermarket points:
“Citizens will be recognized if they sort waste, if they use public transport, if they manage energy well, if they do not take sanctions from the municipal authority, if they are active with the culture card” . These behaviors defined as virtuous will correspond to a score that the Bolognese can then spend in prizes, currently “being defined. » These facts are sad, they are there: the sorting by public authorities of the good and the bad citizen, according to their own criteria, is taking shape in Europe. As for defining what comes under virtue, this is a very audacious enterprise! Should we understand that those who do not comply with the criteria of the dominant ideologies, or of what will be considered virtuous by some politicians will first be penalized by the deprivation of advantages, before being marginalized? What will become of those who will not comply, those who persist in wanting to exercise their inalienable right to free will?
That’s a lot.
• China’s Home Sales By Volume Down 25.6% Y-o-Y (DJ)
Home sales in China continued to fall in March as Beijing’s easing policies failed to revive the property market and stimulate home buyer demand amid a fresh Omicron outbreak across the country. Home sales by volume, a key indicator of demand, fell 25.6% in the first three months of 2022 from a year earlier. This compared with a 22.1% decrease during the January-February period, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. New construction starts measured by floor area dropped 17.5% during January-March from a year earlier, widening from the 12.2% fall in the first two months of the year. Real-estate investment in China rose only 0.7% in the January-March period, slowing from the 3.7% increase for the first two months of the year, according to the statistics bureau.
• New EU Sanctions May Backfire and Benefit China (Lacalle)
The proposals of the European Union and the United States to implement a complete energy embargo on Russia must consider the reality: Asia is importing all that Russia can offer. China, India, and the main Asian economies will send Russian exports to a decade high, according to the Financial Times. In fact, Russia’s trade account surplus was expected to reach $28 billion in March, an all-time high, according to Reuters. That doesn’t mean that sanctions don’t work. Estimates of Russia’s GDP fall range between 10 and 15 percent for 2022 and inflation is close to 20 percent, according to Business Insider. However, the European Union and the United States must note that the sanctions will likely fade away, as Asian countries are purchasing all available Russian production at significant discounts.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States must not make the mistake of thinking that they can bear 100 percent of the energy embargo when China is increasing its imports from Russia. The escape route from the sanctions is China, which maintains a neutral position and, although this doesn’t prevent Russia’s economic difficulties, without China’s collaboration there can’t be a successful embargo. In 2022, Russia’s exports to China, Asian, and emerging countries are estimated to exceed $170 billion, according to Goldman Sachs, significantly more than the 2021 figure for exports to the European Union of $158 billion. Russia is expected to export some $103 billion to China, well above the $79 billion figure for 2021.
The evidence is clear. Without China, there is no real energy embargo. China accounts for 15.4 percent of Russia’s total crude oil exports, with only Saudi Arabia selling more, according to Reuters. We’re talking about 1.6 million barrels per day last year that’s expected to reach 3 million barrels per day in 2022. As for coal, Russia was the second-largest supplier of coal to China in 2021, some 57 million tons last year or 17.6 percent of its total coal imports. Russia is also China’s third-largest gas supplier. The Asian giant accounted for 6.7 percent of Russian natural gas exports in 2021, 16.5 billion cubic meters (bcm), the equivalent of 5 percent of China’s demand.
” The Alfa Bank hoax and Sussmann’s efforts paralleled the work of his partner Elias at the law firm Perkins Coie in pushing the Steele Dossier in a separate debunked collusion claim.”
• 5 Witnesses In Clinton Campaign’s False Russian Claims Take the 5th (Turley)
Special Counsel John Durham continues to drop bombshells in filings in the prosecution of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. Just last week, Durham defeated an effort by Sussmann to dismiss the charges. He is now moving to give immunity to a key witness while revealing that the claims made by the Clinton campaign were viewed by the CIA as “not technically plausible” and “user created.” He also revealed that at least five of the former Clinton campaign contractors/researchers have invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to cooperate in fear that they might incriminate themselves in criminal conduct. Finally, Durham offers further details on the involvement of Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias and former British spy Christopher Steele in the alleged false claims.
Recently, Durham revealed extremely damaging evidence against Sussmann. However, this is the first full description of the Clinton associates refusing to cooperate under the Fifth Amendment. Durham noted that he gave immunity to an individual identified only as “Research 2.” He then noted that this was made necessary by the refusal to cooperate by key Clinton associates: “The only witness currently immunized by the government, Researcher-2, was conferred with that status on July 28, 2021 – over a month prior to the defendant’s Indictment in this matter. And the Government immunized Researcher-2 because, among other reasons, at least five other witnesses who conducted work relating to the Russian Bank-1 allegations invoked (or indicated their intent to invoke) their right against self-incrimination. The Government therefore pursued Researcher-2’s immunity in order to uncover otherwise-unavailable facts underlying the opposition research project that Tech Executive-1 and others carried out in advance of the defendant’s meeting with the FBI.”
For his part, Sussmann and the Clinton associates have sought to use attorney-client privilege to keep evidence from Durham. Durham also detailed how the false Russian collusion claims related to Alfa Bank involved Clinton General Counsel Marc Elias and Christopher Steele. Indeed, the new requested immunized testimony would come from a Tech executive who allegedly can share information on meetings with Elias and Steele. The Alfa Bank hoax and Sussmann’s efforts paralleled the work of his partner Elias at the law firm Perkins Coie in pushing the Steele Dossier in a separate debunked collusion claim. The Federal Election Commission recently fined the Clinton Campaign and the DNC for hiding the funding of the dossier as a legal cost by Elias at Perkins Coie.
“Durham notes that both the CIA and FBI were sent on an effective wild goose chase by the Clinton campaign. He notes that the government found the allegations to be manufactured and not even technically possible. He refers to the CIA in the following passage: Agency-2 concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank-1 data and Russian Phone Provider-1 data was not “technically plausible,” did not “withstand technical scrutiny,” “contained gaps,” “conflicted with [itself],” and was “user created and not machine/tool generated.”
“..data was not ‘technically plausible,’ did not ‘withstand technical scrutiny,’ ‘contained gaps,’ ‘conflicted with [itself],’ and was ‘user created and not machine/tool generated..'”
• CIA Concluded Dems’ Trump-Russia Allegation ‘User Created’ (JT)
The CIA determined that data behind Trump-Russia collusion allegations from Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman was “not technically plausible” and was “user created,” according to the latest court filing from Special Counsel John Durham. The 35-page filing responded to Sussmann’s defense after they objected to some evidence as being admissible at their client’s trial. Sussman, whose trial is slated to begin next month, faces charges of lying to the FBI about the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which reportedly has ties to the Kremlin. Durham wrote in his most recent filling that “the FBI and Agency-2 concluded that the Russian Bank-1 allegations were untrue and unsupported.” “Agency-2” is the CIA.
“[W]hile the FBI did not reach an ultimate conclusion regarding the data’s accuracy or whether it might have been in whole or in part genuine, spoofed, altered, or fabricated, Agency-2 concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank-1 data and Russian Phone Provider-1 data was not ‘technically plausible,’ did not ‘withstand technical scrutiny,’ ‘contained gaps,’ ‘conflicted with [itself],’ and was ‘user created and not machine/tool generated,'” Durham wrote. “The Special Counsel’s Office has not reached a definitive conclusion in this regard,” he added. Durham stressed the importance of the evidence that the collusion was allegedly fabricated. He explained that “evidence concerning the steps the FBI and Agency-2 took to investigate these matters is critical to establishing materiality because it will enable the jury to evaluate those steps which, in turn, will inform their conclusions about whether the defendant’s alleged false statement was material and could tend to influence or impair government functions.”
“I’m not saying that I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things..”
• Elon Musk Slams Mark Zuckerberg’s Control Over Meta (NB)
Elon Musk said that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has too much power over the platform. Business Insider on Friday reported that Musk, the richest man in the world, was asked if his influence was a conflict of interest for his offer to buy Twitter for $43 billion. He responded and said Twitter would be nothing like Facebook if he owned it. “As for media sort of ownership, I mean, you’ve got Mark Zuckerberg owning Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp, and with a share ownership structure that will have Mark Zuckerberg the 14th still controlling those entities,” he said.
“Like, literally,” Musk added. “We won’t have that at Twitter.” He said that his offer to buy Twitter was “not a way to make money” but was instead about promoting freedom of speech. “I’m not saying that I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things,” he noted, referring to biased content moderation and permanent bans. “And just be very cautious with permanent bans. Timeouts, I think, are better than permanent bans.”
Predictable. Freedom is the new F word
• ‘Crazy Elon’ Musk Now Facing Federal Heat (Gasparino)
Now I get why he’s called “Crazy Elon.” Bankers who cover Elon Musk — the electric-car, space-travel and now, possibly, social-media impresario — tell me his own board members came up with that name a few years ago, long before he made a seemingly improbable $43 billion bid for Twitter. It was around the time he was juggling about 10 things at once, including opening new factories, fending off short sellers and regulators, and trying to keep his EV car company Tesla out of bankruptcy. As it turned out, Musk was going crazy in a visionary way. His bid to buy Twitter, the most powerful media platform in existence today, and take on the progressive social-media establishment will only enhance his reputation among his many admirers.
[..] Maybe that’s why, on the eve of Musk doing something even more outlandishly nonconformist (and maybe even crazier in his bid to buy Twitter, the seemingly ubiquitous social-media outfit that he calls the world’s “de facto town square”), the government overseers let it leak to me and Fox Business’s Eleanor Terrett that Musk is in their crosshairs. His old pals at the Securities and Exchange Commission and now the Justice Department have launched a joint investigation into Musk’s business activities, a source close to the matter says. Exactly what they’re looking at isn’t known, but here are some clues: Lawyers say he didn’t file the right paperwork when accumulating his 9%+ stake in Twitter; he may not have come clean early enough on his intentions to try taking over the entire company. (Remember how for a hot minute he was on the Twitter board, which would have prevented a takeover?)
He appears to continue to flout his settlement with the SEC over his tweeting and there have always been questions over the accuracy of his disclosures about EV production rates. These might make for a case against Musk. But he isn’t acting like a guy worried he’s guilty of something. He keeps taking on the woke corporate status quo (and the SEC, which he called “bastards” last week), something that I understand has riled up Dems who at least for now control Congress and thus the various federal regulatory agencies. Are they looking to derail Elon from owning maybe the most important social-media platform on the planet? Are they afraid he might reinstate Donald Trump on Twitter, the politician the left hates even more than Vladimir Putin? Are they worried conservative voices might get equal billing as those on the left with Elon running the show? You know the answers to those questions, so you shouldn’t be surprised Crazy Elon is in the crosshairs.
IF PEOPLE SPOKE LIKE POLITICIANS
IF PEOPLE SPOKE LIKE POLITICIANS pic.twitter.com/PczhTHZOmI
— Mark Humphries (@markhumphries) June 1, 2017
Conspiracy theory… pic.twitter.com/iGDQl7sBLs
— Pelham (@Resist_05) April 17, 2022
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