Dec 252023
 


Velázquez The Immaculate Conception 1619

 

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)
How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)
Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)
Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)
Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)
Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)
Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)
‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)
Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)
Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)
Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)
Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

 

 

 

 


https://twitter.com/i/status/1738743983231074314

 

 

 

 

Pepe Escobar

 

 

Republic Democracy

 

 

 

 

He proudly stated…

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)

US President Joe Biden told reporters on 23 December that he did not ask for a ceasefire during his latest call with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I had a long talk with Netanyahu today, and it was a private conversation,” the president said, adding that he “did not ask for a ceasefire.” The White House said Biden and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli war on Gaza and its “objectives and phasing.”The US president “emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population, including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting,” according to the White House statement.

Biden’s phone call came one day after the UN Security Council passed a barebones resolution that called for increased humanitarian aid but failed to demand an immediate ceasefire. The Security Council had been trying to draft a resolution for several days but was forced to tone down the language at the insistence of US officials who opposed a call for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The US and Russia abstained from the UNSC vote. Washington has vetoed two previous resolutions calling for a ceasefire. “This resolution has been watered down to the point that its impact on the lives of civilians in Gaza will be nearly meaningless,” said Avril Benoit of Doctors Without Borders.

On Saturday, Israel’s Broadcasting Authority revealed Tel Aviv is planning to switch to a new phase of the war in the coming weeks, bringing to an end to ground operations and shifting the focus to continued heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. While Washington has been calling for a switch to lower-intensity operations to “protect civilians,” maintaining air raids of Gaza is expected to keep the staggering death toll on the rise. Young voters in the US have increasingly shown support for the Palestinian cause, plunging Biden’s approval ratings. A poll earlier this month showed that 53 percent of US citizens “disapprove of the president.”

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“..the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships..”

How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)

From the minute after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMT) learned that the oil tanker MV Chem Pluto had been hit by an exploding drone in the Indian Ocean 1,600 kilometres east of the Red Sea and Yemen coast, they also knew why. Through a joint venture between a Japanese and a Singapore holding company operating through a Dutch management cutout, the vessel is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli shipping magnate. The Chem Pluto strike is the second by a drone against one of Ofer’s vessels in the Indian Ocean. The first strike was on November 24, when the container carrier CMA CGM Symi was targeted in the northeastern sector of the Indian Ocean. The Symi is owned by Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping in Singapore.

On December 18, drone strikes were reported by CENTCOM against the Swan Atlantic oil tanker and the bulker MV Clara. The first vessel is owned by a Norwegian company but management, with hidden equity, belongs to the Israeli Zodiac group, owned by Idan Ofer’s brother, Eyal Ofer. The second vessel, the Clara, is owned and managed by a German company, Johann MK Blumenthal; no Israeli trace has been found to date, but the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships. On November 19 they did more than that. On that day an Israeli-owned car carrier, Galaxy Leader, was captured by Houthi commandos in the Red Sea. Follow their operation as they filmed it; here is the vessel now receiving tourists at anchor off Al-Salif port, Yemen. Ownership by the Israeli Abraham Ungar was concealed behind by a Japanese ship management entity and a company registered under the Isle of Man-headquartered Ray Car Carriers, which in turn is owned by a Tel Aviv company called Ray Shipping.

Houthi political and military spokesmen have repeatedly made clear they are attacking Israeli shipping, as well as vessels of any nationality trading in and out of Israel’s ports. “Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Houthi military official, said on the group’s television station on November 20, following the capture of the Galaxy Leader. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” a Houthi press statement declared on December 9. CENTCOM and Pentagon releases to the press have also claimed to have intercepted Houthi drone and missile attacks on US warships in the Red Sea attempting to protect the Israeli-owned or Israel-bound shipping.

Less successful in hitting Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat, the Houthi campaign has been effective in cutting off the port by striking at vessels in the Red Sea, and then extending the range of strikes to the eastern Indian Ocean. Eilat accounts for 45% of car imports to Israel and 5% of all the goods imported to Israel by sea. The Houthi campaign has cut Eilat’s port revenue by 80% since October 7. The impact has expanded to all shipping in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean if their management and ownership are based in the US and the European states allied with Israel in the Gaza war, and also with the US in the war against Russia in the Ukraine. It is this coalition of states which US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin attempted to rally for naval convoy and counter-threat operations on December 18, calling the plan OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN.

This operation is now coming apart in recriminations because commercial vessel owners in France, Spain, and Italy have accepted that if they negotiate Israel-boycott deals directly with the Houthis, they can continue to operate through the Red Sea. They resent the commercial competition from Russia and China which are operating oil tankers and dry-cargo carriers without hindrance or threat. The obviousness of the targeting by the Houthis, and of Houthi deal-making by the Russians and Chinese, are being concealed, however, in the US and UK maritime industry media and the mainstream press. They are advocating maximum use of force by the Israel and US-led operation in the region to attack both Houthi and Iranian targets.

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That coalition fell apart in record time. Or did Austin just make it up to begin with?

Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)

The Houthis have dismissed the US-led military coalition being assembled against them, warning that they have “multiple options” to continue targeting Israel if the IDF’s operations in Gaza aren’t halted. “If the Zionist regime does not stop its assaults on Gaza or anywhere else across the Palestinian lands and doesn’t lift its siege, our forces will exercise more options,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi, the Houthi-led government of national salvation’s defense minister, warned in a speech before other militia leaders late Friday. “Our eyes are monitoring and closely following the movements of the [Israeli] entity worldwide,” al-Atifi added. “The recent decisions by foreign military forces and their regional mercenaries have put many tasks before us, the most daunting of which is the exercise of vigilance and watchfulness,” the senior Houthi official said, referring to the US-led coalition.

Brig. Gen. Youssef al-Madani, commander of the 5th Military Region – situated to the east of the Red Sea along the coastal Al Hudaydah governorate, said his forces are fully cognizant of the “sensitivity” of the current phase of Houthi operations, emphasizing that the militias are “prepared, vigilant and eager to confront the Zionists and those who are fighting with them.” Al-Atifi stressed that the Houthis are fighting for the sake of the national security of the Arab and Islamic World, and that their actions “serve the interests of countries working to liberate themselves from the domination of the Zionist entity and the United States on a global scale.” “There are countries that cannot even consider using force because the situation requires brave and strategic decisions. The leader of the nation, Sayyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, possesses courage, audacity and independent decision-making,” Al-Atifi said. He went on to slam the international community for failing to adopt an “appropriate” stance on Israel amid the ongoing Gaza crisis.

The Houthis managed to effectively shut down the Red Sea to Israeli-owned and Israeli-bound maritime traffic via a spate of hijackings, missile and drone attacks on commercial carriers over the past month, starting with the seizure of the Israeli-owned ro-ro car carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19. The unrelenting attacks prompted international shipping giants including Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and CMA CGM to suspend operations through the Red Sea, adding billions of dollars to shipping costs as vessels are forced to find alternate routes. Israeli ports have faced particularly heavy losses from the Houthis’ actions, with the nation’s Eilat Port facing an 85 percent drop in activity, and Israeli cargoes facing skyrocketing insurance costs. The US began amassing warships in the region last week, and on Monday Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, “an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.”

Austin listed ten nations he said were participating in the coalition, including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Bahrain and the Seychelles. The Pentagon upped the number to “over 20 nations” on Friday, but did not elaborate on which countries specifically are involved. But part from the ships of US Task Force 153, which includes between three and five US destroyers, the British HMS Diamond missile destroyer and a Greek Navy frigate, the coalition is shaping up to include only a handful of troops from US-allied countries, including the Netherlands (which is sending two officers), Norway (10 officers), Australia (11 troops), Canada (three officers), and Denmark (one officer). France and Italy have each indicated that any naval forces they have in the region will remain under national command, while Spain said it will not take part in any military operation unless it is under the direction of NATO or the EU.

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“..The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo..”

Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)

The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines commissioned by US President Joe Biden was primarily aimed at Germany rather than Russia, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has claimed. The decision to destroy the key pipelines was prompted by US fears that Berlin might not follow Washington’s lead amid the Ukraine conflict, Hersh wrote in a new article on the affair on his Substack blog on Friday. The sabotage of the pipelines was ordered weeks before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, Hersh wrote, adding that the American operatives assigned to it believed it was meant to deter Moscow. The attack on the pipelines was ready by late May, but “the plan was called off on short notice by Biden,” the journalist claimed. Instead, the team was tasked with planting explosives on the pipelines, which could be detonated remotely at a later date, he said.

The timing of the attack, which ultimately occurred in late September 2022, appeared to be aimed at Berlin rather than Moscow. “Biden’s timing seemed aimed at Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz. Some in the CIA believed that the president’s fear was that Scholz, whose constituents were lukewarm in their support for Ukraine, might waffle with winter coming on and conclude that keeping his people warm and his industries prosperous was more important than backing Ukraine against Russia,” Hersh wrote. The destruction of the pipelines played a major role in Germany’s economic hardships – the country, which once “dominated the world’s markets with its luxury cars and industrial machinery… is now in a process of what some have called rapid deindustrialization,” Hersh said.

Apart from this, Germany has experienced a surge in popularity of right-wing parties, including Alternative for Germany (AfD), and its economic woes have contributed to this. However, Washington’s “most controversial factor in Germany’s recent hard times” – the Nord Stream sabotage – remains largely ignored in the West, according to the journalist. “In the ten months since I published my first account of the Nord Stream sabotage the German government and media, as in the United States, have either ignored or provided alternate accounts of the how and why the pipelines were destroyed. The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo,” Hersh wrote.

The veteran journalist provided his first detailed account on the pipeline attack on February 8, 2023, publishing a lengthy article relying on anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” The allegations prompted strong denials from Washington, with US National Security spokesman John Kirby dismissing the report as a “completely false story” at the time. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s findings, suggesting the attack only benefited Washington to reinforce its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.

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Dumb legacy media propaganda to climb back from earlier assertions. Not terribly impressed with how Tyler covers it.

Putin hasn’t changed his views or goals one bit. That is not true of the west. But then, they lost.

Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)

In a fresh weekend report The New York Times says that President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate an end to the nearly two year-long ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, at a moment most of the territory which forms the four ‘annexed’ oblasts remains firmly under Russian military control. However, to some degree, Putin has consistently held open the chance to negotiate… it’s just that “negotiate” in the Kremlin context would be on the basis of Crimea and the Donbass being fully recognized as Russian Federation territory. Until recently, the West considered this an impossibility, but US and European officials have more recently quietly admitted Moscow has more or less ‘won’. The NY Times quotes Putin in the following: Buoyed by Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive and flagging Western support, Mr. Putin says that Russia’s war goals have not changed. Addressing his generals on Tuesday, he boasted that Ukraine was so beleaguered that Russia’s invading troops were doing “what we want.”

“We won’t give up what’s ours,” he pledged, adding dismissively, “If they want to negotiate, let them negotiate.” But in a recent push of back-channel diplomacy, Mr. Putin has been sending a different message: He is ready to make a deal. The report cites Russian diplomatic sources who say Putin has for the first time been open to ceasefire which would include a freezing of all frontline fighting. American officials say the same, per the report: “In fact, Mr. Putin also sent out feelers for a cease-fire deal a year earlier, in the fall of 2022, according to American officials.” “That quiet overture, not previously reported, came after Ukraine routed Russia’s army in the country’s northeast. Mr. Putin indicated that he was satisfied with Russia’s captured territory and ready for an armistice, they said.” Very obviously, Ukraine’s leadership and society has been fracturing under the strain of the invasion and immense death toll, with Kiev officials recently admitting monumental problems with manpower and ammo supply.

But the reality is that Russian society is likely facing deep fractures and uncertainty too, though it’s far less evident. Countless mothers, fathers, and families are grieving and dealing with the loss of loved ones killed in action. Conservative estimates have said at least 50,000 Russian troops have died in the war (and that is based just on data as of mid-summer). US officials have claimed a figure in the hundreds of thousands, but there are reasons to be doubtful of this. Angry families of fallen soldiers have increasingly formed the locus of a small but increasingly visible Russian anti-war movement, suggesting broader quiet societal angst concerning the direction of the war in Ukraine. They don’t want Ukraine to be Russia’s “endless war”.

[..] According to more in the NYT report on Putin’s supposed new-found readiness for serious negotiations: Mr. Putin’s repeated interest in a cease-fire is an example of how opportunism and improvisation have defined his approach to the war behind closed doors. Dozens of interviews with Russians who have long known him and with international officials with insight into the Kremlin’s inner workings show a leader maneuvering to reduce risks and keep his options open in a war that has lasted longer than he expected. While deploying fiery public rhetoric, Mr. Putin privately telegraphs a desire to declare victory and move on. “They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a cease-fire,’” said one senior international official who met with top Russian officials this fall. “They want to stay where they are on the battlefield.”

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So pump more weapons into it?!

Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)

A retired French general and former NATO commander has painted a chilling picture of Ukraine’s prospects over the next several months in its conflict with Russia, saying the best that Kiev and its Western sponsors can hope for is to avoid losing further ground this winter. “The Ukrainians are going to experience a terrible winter,” Jean-Paul Palomeros, ex-chief of staff for the French Air Force, said on Friday in an interview with online broadcaster Franceinfo. “We must not hide our eyes. At best, they will be able to defend the positions they currently have. We must not hope for better.” Palomeros, who served as one of NATO’s two strategic commanders after leaving the French Air Force in 2012, argued that European nations must boost their aid to Ukraine.

“Europeans must invest better and more if they want to be able to support the war effort in Ukraine,” he said. “For the moment, this is not the case.” The retired general made his comments as French President Emmanuel Macron visited France’s troops in Jordan, where he vowed to continue supporting Ukraine. “We cannot let Russia win,” the French leader said. However, Macron admitted in an interview on Wednesday with broadcaster France 5 that the US and its European allies had failed to cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. He also acknowledged that an uncertain political situation in the US was clouding the outlook for Ukraine’s prospects. The latest round of European aid for Ukraine failed to pass earlier this month at the EU summit in Brussels, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voted down the bloc’s €50 billion ($54 billion) pledge.

Meanwhile, a $60 billion US aid proposal for Kiev has stalled in Washington, where Republican lawmakers have opposed giving more money until Kiev and its backers come up with a clear victory strategy. US President Joe Biden’s administration has warned that without congressional approval, funding for Washington’s aid to Ukraine will run out at the end of this month. Palomeros lamented the increasing struggles in the West to provide Ukraine the support that it needs. “The message is clear,” he said. “Now we must match words with actions.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conceded in an interview earlier this month that Ukraine had failed to achieve any battlefield breakthroughs during its long-awaited counteroffensive. “We have to be prepared for bad news,” he said of the outlook for Kiev. “Wars move in phases, but we must stand by Ukraine in good and in bad times alike.”

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“..while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled..”

Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)

It is time for all countries involved in the Ukraine conflict to start looking for a political solution to the crisis, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said on Saturday. The defense chief noted, as quoted by the ANSA news agency, that as the fighting between Moscow and Kiev is about to enter its third year, “it is important to take paths that lead to a political solution.” He stressed, however, that these efforts must coincide with continued military support for Ukraine. The minister pointed out that while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled. “What cannot be achieved militarily… can be achieved by opening a diplomatic and political front to try to achieve the same result through peace talks,” he said.

Crosetto also highlighted that “what existed before the war must be restored, and what could not be done with weapons must be done in another way.” NATO member states, including the US, which has emerged as Kiev’s main backer, have insisted that they would continue their support for Ukraine “as long as it takes” while taking steps to bring the embattled country closer to the bloc’s military standards. Russia, which has historically seen NATO’s expansion toward its borders as a threat, has said the Ukraine’s push to join the bloc was one of the key reasons behind the conflict. The Italian defense minister already warned in early October that the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev were unlikely to be resolved on the battlefield.

At the time, he explained that the “more time passes, the more the possibility of helping Ukraine with resources that are not unlimited decreases,” while pointing to serious problems Kiev had encountered in its unsuccessful attempts to push back Russian troops. Kiev launched a much-hyped counteroffensive in early summer but has failed to gain any significant ground while suffering heavy losses both in manpower and Western-supplied equipment. Moscow has estimated Ukrainian casualties since the start of the offensive at around 160,000 troops. While President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow last autumn after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia, Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks with Kiev.

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“..not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.”

Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called out what it called “caveman Russophobia” after ex-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu suggested that EU member states should prevent Russian embassies from opening polling stations for next year’s presidential election. The vote is slated for a three-day period from March 15 to 17, with the winner to be inaugurated in May. Speaking to RIA Novosti on Sunday, a Foreign Ministry representative said that Moscow is “not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.” It was also noted that the former Estonian minister’s proposal runs counter to the West’s professed adherence to the principles of democracy, with the right to vote being among its cornerstones.

“We see in this nothing but an attempt to introduce one more discriminatory measure against compatriots living in Estonia,” the ministry added. Russian officials also pointed out that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not oblige embassies to apply for the host nation’s permission to open polling stations on their premises – contrary to what Reinsalu appeared to suggest. The latter argued that it would be “absurd if European countries allow polling stations to open in Russian embassies on their territory in March.” Reinsalu later clarified to the media outlet Postimees that Moscow would have to request permission from the Estonian Foreign Ministry, which could refuse.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially filed papers to register as an independent presidential candidate with Russia’s Central Election Commission. If victorious, he would serve a fifth term in office. Several major Russian parties, including the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), and New People have also signaled they will put forward candidates. Furthermore, a number of public figures and politicians have also announced their intent to run as independents.

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Maidan 2.0.

‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)

Pro-Western demonstrators have attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has called an attempted “color revolution.” Vucic claims he was tipped off about the plot beforehand. Thousands of opposition protesters gathered outside the Belgrade City Assembly on Sunday to protest the victory of Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) over the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition in parliamentary elections last week. The protest turned violent with a group of demonstrators attempting to batter down the doors of the building, until they were dispersed by police. “There is no revolution underway,” Vucic said in a public address. “Nothing will go their way,” he continued, referring to the protesters. “Those who swear to fight against violence have shown that they are real thugs.”

The SPN coalition emerged out of anti-government protests following a pair of mass shootings in May. While the protest movement initially demanded the resignations of Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic and intelligence chief Aleksandar Vulin, it soon called for the fall of Vucic’s government. Vucic claimed that the protest was sponsored by Western powers who wanted him removed from office over his cordial relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo, citing reports from foreign intelligence services. He reiterated these allegations in Sunday’s address, thanking unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing.” The term ‘color revolution’ describes a protest movement funded and organized by a Western government – usually the US.

Aimed at toppling leaders opposed to US interests, these revolutions are typically backed by American intelligence agencies, and organized by a panoply of US-funded NGOs. While the term became widely known following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the first successful use of color revolution tactics took place in Yugoslavia in 2000, when a US-backed student movement forced the resignation of Slobodan Milosevic. The anti-Milosevic movement began with claims that the Yugoslavian leader had engaged in fraud in that year’s election, claims bolstered by Western-funded ‘election monitors’ who were brought in. “Serbia is fed up with your revolutions,” Vucic said during the initial ‘anti-violence’ protests earlier this year. “Serbia is fed up with the arrival of those under foreign influence and the destruction of everything that is Serbian.”

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“When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has expressed gratitude to the Russian security services, which alerted Belgrade to plans for riots in the capital. Pro-Western demonstrators attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade on Sunday evening, in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an attempted color revolution. While Vucic initially thanked unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing,” Brnabic later revealed that Belgrade was tipped off by Moscow. “I feel that it is important, especially tonight, to stand up for Serbia and to thank the Russian security services who had that information and who shared it with us,” Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday night. “I can only say thank you, and it probably won’t be popular with those from the West,” the prime minister said, adding, “When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Anti-government protests erupted in Serbia on Monday, with the opposition accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of “vote theft” during last week’s parliamentary elections, in which the party defeated the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition. Vucic dismissed the allegations as “lies,” claiming that the protests were sponsored by the West, which wants him removed due to his relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. Following the unrest in Belgrade, Vucic is expected to host Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko at his residence just across the square from the assembly where the protest took place, local media reported, citing the presidential press service. Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has also scheduled a meeting with the Russian envoy.

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“Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media..”

Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed a 2024 budget bill on Saturday in protest at the newly elected government’s controversial overhaul of the country’s state media outlets. Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s new cabinet revealed on Wednesday that it had fired the top executives at government-run TV and radio stations and news agency and appointed new management boards in their place, citing a need to restore “impartiality.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Duda explained that he could not consent to the bill, which included 3 billion zlotys (€690 million) earmarked for public media, “given the blatant violation of the Constitution and the principles of a democratic state of law.” “An attempt to finance public media through a budget related law (by the parliamentary majority) is in the current situation unacceptable,” he continued, vowing to send his own version of the budget through parliament “immediately after Christmas.”

This version will include the spending commitments promised by the ruling coalition led by Tusk. Duda urged the leaders of both houses of parliament to call sessions and adopt his draft before the year’s end. The new government would have fulfilled several of its electoral promises with the budget, which included a 30% pay raise for teachers and a 20% increase for public sector workers. The controversial overhaul came just a day after parliament approved a resolution calling for “all state authorities to immediately take action aimed at restoring constitutional order in terms of citizens’ access to reliable information and the functioning of public media,” seemingly fulfilling Tusk’s campaign pledge that he would “change the system of public media” in the space of 24 hours if elected.

The former European Council president and his allies had accused the government-run media properties of acting as propaganda mouthpieces for the Law and Justice (PiS) party previously in power by attacking its political enemies and fomenting anti-EU sentiment. Tusk’s predecessor, Mateusz Morawiecki, denounced his replacement’s “illegal actions,” charging that the new coalition government intended to violate the law “at every step” and vowing to resist accordingly. “We will not allow for a dictatorship to be built in Poland,” the PiS politician wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. The party, which lost power to Tusk’s coalition in October’s elections, has pointed out that the management of public media properties can only be fired by the National Media Council. Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media, according to the BBC.

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“Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection..”

Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden has said he sees no reason for presidents to enjoy absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, a position vehemently advocated by his predecessor Donald Trump. The statement came in response to a reporter’s question as President Biden left the White House for Camp David, where he plans to spend the Christmas holiday. The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday not to expedite a ruling on Trump’s immunity case was a setback for federal prosecutors seeking to begin a trial related to the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump maintains that his actions leading up to the events of January 6, 2021 were within the scope of his official duties.

The riot saw his supporters violently storm the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers’ certification of Biden’s victory.The trial, scheduled to begin on March 4, was delayed after Independent Special Counsel Jack Smith sought an expedited resolution from the nation’s highest court to ensure the scheduled start date. With the Supreme Court granting the expedited request, a lower federal appeals court will now consider the immunity claim, raising the possibility that the trial could extend into the heart of the upcoming general election or beyond. Looking ahead to the 2024 race, Biden’s campaign plans to frame the upcoming contest, which will likely feature a rematch with Trump, as a replay of the 2020 showdown, but with even higher stakes.

Last week, Biden’s campaign circulated a memo characterizing Trump as a significant threat to US democracy, citing his behavior leading up to the January 6 events and his alleged threats against political opponents. While Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection” on January 6, he stopped short of endorsing a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that could bar the former president from appearing on the state’s ballot. When asked, Biden said, “That’s up to the court.” The January 6, 2021 incident occurred when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the Electoral College vote count following Trump’s election loss, claiming it was rigged. Since the riot, more than 1,200 people have been charged with crimes related to the breach.

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“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is..”

Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said on Saturday that the Supreme Court will likely decide if former US President Donald Trump is allowed on all or none of the ballots in the 2024 Presidential election. Simon’s comments come after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump will not be allowed on the ballot in that state because it determined that he is responsible for the riot on January 6, 2021, and therefore had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion and is not eligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment. Trump has not been charged with insurrection or rebellion. The Colorado court stayed its order, expecting Trump’s legal team to appeal to the Supreme Court. Simon told US media in an interview on Saturday that the highest court in the land will “have to” take up the appeal.

“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is,” Simon explained. “He will either be on the ballot everywhere or nowhere, and the US Supreme Court is going to make sure of that.” However, just because Simon is confident that the Supreme Court will ensure Trump’s inclusion on ballots nationwide will be all or nothing, he is not as confident that they will decide on the issue of whether the 14th Amendment applies to Presidents or if Trump engaged in an insurrection. “There’s so many different ways that the Supreme Court could go, there are multiple off ramps for them, for example, to decide the case without deciding the ultimate issue, which is, did Donald Trump engage in or help an insurrection?” Simon said. “They don’t have to decide that. There are a number of ways they can dispose of the case and get an outcome without deciding that question.”

Lawsuits in several states had tried to remove Trump from the ballot, but most were thrown out of court and were seen as longshot cases. The Colorado ruling surprised many. Officials in several Democrat-controlled states have argued the same could be done there, including California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who on Wednesday, asked California Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to remove Trump. Recent polling shows that Trump is leading his likely opponent in the 2024 election, President Joe Biden in seven swing states, which means he’d likely beat Biden if the election were held today. After the Colorado ruling, Trump took to his Truth Social, saying “I’m not an Insurrectionist.”

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Oct 132023
 
 October 13, 2023  Posted by at 8:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1906

 

Israel Not Prepared for Hezbollah’s Second Front – Alastair Crooke (Sp.)
Sy Hersh: Bibi’s Opposition to 2-State Solution Cost Lives of Jews, Arabs (Sp.)
The Geopolitics of Al-Aqsa Flood (Pepe Escobar)
Russian Views of the Hamas-Israeli Conflict (Paul Craig Roberts)
Netanyahu Wants US Involved In War – Ex-Pentagon Official (RT)
US Won’t Fight For Israel – White House (RT)
US Must Prepare For War With China And Russia – Congress (RT)
Struggle For Future Of World Order ‘Intensifying’ – Moscow (RT)
Zelensky Final Stage of Conflict Statement Shows Hopelessness – Lavrov (Sp.)
Beijing Can’t Be Neutral On ‘Fox Entering Henhouse’ – Borrell (RT)
Europe Made A ‘Grave Mistake’ On Immigration – Kissinger (Az.)
‘Star Witness’ Ellison Unveils Chaos Behind FTX’s Fake Balance Sheets (ZH)
CEO of X -aka Twitter- Responds To EU ‘Disinfo’ Threats (RT)
RFK Jr. Sees Surge in Fundraising After Declaring Independent Run (ET)

 

 

 

 

Jon Stewart

 

 

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“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation.” George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

 

“..there comes a point when you have so much information and data bits and everything like this that you don’t have a clear picture..”

Israel Not Prepared for Hezbollah’s Second Front – Alastair Crooke (Sp.)

The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah may raise the stakes in the Israel-Hamas war by getting directly involved in the conflict. Over the past few days, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah fighters have been exchanging strikes across Lebanon’s southern border. The clashes came after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and Tel Aviv’s retaliation. The question is whether the Shiite militants will resort to a direct military intervention in Israel in a show of solidarity with Hamas. “There has been some direct military intervention,” former British diplomat and MI6 agent Alastair Crooke told Sputnik. “Hezbollah, a few days ago, two or three days ago, destroyed three Israeli radar base posts. These were in the Shebaa Farms area, which is recognized as Lebanese territory, but is occupied by Israel.”

“There was an Israeli response, and now we’ve moved to a response by Hezbollah that ended up with firing on military bases inside Israel. And with the reaction of Israel to killing three of the Hezbollah cadres. And Hezbollah says they will react to that and they will respond by killing three Israelis. I mean, it’s very reminiscent for me of what started the 2006 war. If you recall, it was Hezbollah taking two soldiers, they slipped across the border and took two Israelis hostage in reaction for what Israel was doing in Lebanon at that point. So, it’s quite sort of similar. Hezbollah said it very clearly. Hassan Nasrallah has said ‘If Israel goes into Gaza militarily, then we will open a front, the next front.’ Most people, including I interpret that as quite a clear red line.”

Hezbollah is both a political party and militant group that was formed in 1982, during the 15-year Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), and earned the name “state-within-a-state” due to its sophisticated security apparatus, well-trained fighters, and political organization. Since its inception, Hezbollah has been involved in a continuous fight against Israel over what it called the “occupation” of Palestine. In 2006, the month-long Israel-Hezbollah war erupted, precipitated by the Lebanese militant group’s cross-border raid on an Israeli military patrol on July 12, 2006. A UN-brokered ceasefire was agreed by the warring parties on August 14, 2006, while on September 8, 2006, Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon. Per Crooke, the IDF was outperformed by Hezbollah at the time.

“In 2006, [the IDF] lost the war and Hezbollah had the technological advantage over them,” the ex-MI6 agent said. “They were intercepting the Israeli military communications. They were intercepting deciphered messages coming to from Tel Aviv to Beirut. They had the security, Hezbollah’s operational practices. It was a defeat [for Israel] and the army was not very impressive. There were times when they didn’t even manage to provide for the reserves that arrived – there was no food, and there was no transport for them. It was a bit like this last weekend. It was pretty chaotic. And look what we saw [this past weekend]. Again, a former senior military officer in Israel said, ‘Look, this time, the command and control structure of the army just collapsed, when Hamas broke through the Erez crossing, it just collapsed and there were no troops, and there was no ability to respond at all.’ They just saw an implosion. So, it’s not really that great.”

Furthermore, the Israeli intelligence failure to proactively thwart the Hamas attack suggests the erosion of intelligence capabilities and understanding of the situation on the ground, according to Crooke. It appears that despite Tel Aviv and Washington’s top notch technology, the nations’ spies failed to correctly interpret the massive volumes of intelligence data. Crooke explained that the shift over to artificial intelligence (AI) as a means of intelligence gathering “has not been very successful, neither in Ukraine for the Americans and for NATO and computer modeling efforts.” “Nor has it for the Israelis, because there comes a point when you have so much information and data bits and everything like this that you don’t have a clear picture,” the former British intelligence operative emphasized.

To understand how people are thinking one needs “emotional intelligence” and some sort of empathy, and not just the AI-collected data, according to him. “I saw this in the past,” Crooke said. “The West is finding it harder and harder to understand, to empathize with other, if you like, civilizations, whether it’s Russian or Iranian. They reduce it to a sort of instrumentalism that they can do it, and think if they collect enough data points, they will understand how Russia thinks and how Iran thinks. And of course, they don’t get into the mindset. They don’t get into the way of thinking, which is quite different. Even the language is quite different. And the capabilities of AI to understand symbolic meaning, and let alone some of the sort of esoteric elements of Islamic meaning – it just depends on who’s writing the AI. But for sure, it will be someone who’s lived all their life in the Western sphere and finds this all a mystery.”

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“[He] is finished. He is a walking dead man. He will stay in office only until the shooting stops . . . maybe another month or two.”

Sy Hersh: Bibi’s Opposition to 2-State Solution Cost Lives of Jews, Arabs (Sp.)

Benjamin Netanyahu “is finished,” as his decision to allow a group of Orthodox settlers to celebrate Sukkot in the West Bank last week was ill-timed, given the growing tensions between Jews and Palestinians in the region, an Israeli source told Seymour Hersh. On October 6 a group of Jewish settlers were reported to have clashed with local Palestinians in Huwara, a village in the northern part of the West Bank, which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old Arab man. Israeli settlers in the West Bank required “extraordinary protection” over the upsurge in violence. So, Netanyahu gave a nod to local Israeli military authorities to order two of the three Army battalions that controlled the border with Gaza to shift their focus to the Sukkot festival. Given that each battalion comprised about 800 soldiers, 1,600 were sent to shield the Orthodox Jews.

“That left only eight hundred soldiers to be responsible for guarding the 51-kilometer border between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel,” Hersh’s interlocutor said. “That meant the Israeli citizens in the south were left without an Israeli military presence for ten to twelve hours. They were left to fend for themselves.” Thus, unsurprisingly, the diminished IDF contingent was overrun by Hamas militants on October 7, while Israeli civilians were left unprotected. Hersh’s sources called the Saturday attack “the great military failure in Israeli history.” He noted that a previous surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria in 1973 claimed the lives of soldiers, while this time peaceful civilians suffered. “Last Saturday twenty-two settlements in the south were under control of Hamas for hours, and they went house to house slaughtering women and children,” the insider said.

The source believes that this failure means the end of Netanyahu’s political career: “[He] is finished. He is a walking dead man. He will stay in office only until the shooting stops . . . maybe another month or two.” But not just for Saturday’s slaughter: the root of the problem named Hamas goes much deeper, per Hersh’s interlocutor. To begin with, Benjamin Netanyahu “was always opposed to the 1993 Oslo Accords,” the insider said. The agreement envisaged the gradual implementation of the so-called “two-state solution” for Israel and Palestine. It was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiator Mahmoud Abbas in September 1993. Under the agreements, Tel Aviv accepted the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians, and the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace.

The document stipulated the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which would assume governing responsibilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the time, Netanyahu was out of office: he served as a prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and won the Israeli prime ministership for the second time in 2009. When Bibi returned to office in 2009, he “chose to support Hamas” as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority, “and gave them money and established them in Gaza,” according to the insider. Furthermore, an arrangement with Qatar was made under which hundreds of millions of dollars were directed to the Hamas leadership with Israeli approval, per the source.

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“In the drive towards a multipolar world, [..] there’s simply no place for an ethnocentric Apartheid state fond of collective punishment..”

The Geopolitics of Al-Aqsa Flood (Pepe Escobar)

=Only one year ago, the sweaty sweatshirt comedian in Kiev was talking about turning Ukraine into a “big Israel,” and was duly applauded by a bunch of Atlantic Council bots. Well, it turned out quite differently. As an old-school Deep State source just informed me: “Ukraine-earmarked weapons are ending up in the hands of the Palestinians. The question is which country is paying for it. Iran just made a deal with the US for six billion dollars and it is unlikely Iran would jeopardize that. I have a source who gave me the name of the country but I cannot reveal it. The fact is that Ukrainian weapons are going to the Gaza Strip and they are being paid for but not by Iran.” After its stunning raid last weekend, a savvy Hamas has already secured more negotiating leverage than Palestinians have wielded in decades.

Significantly, while peace talks are supported by China, Russia, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt – Tel Aviv refuses. Netanyahu is obsessed with razing Gaza to the ground, but if that happens, a wider regional war is nearly inevitable. Lebanon’s Hezbollah – a staunch Resistance Axis ally of the Palestinian resistance – would rather not be dragged into a war that can be devastating on its side of the border, but that could change if Israel perpetrates a de facto Gaza genocide. Hezbollah holds at least 100,000 ballistic missiles and rockets, from Katyusha (range: 40 km) to Fajr-5 (75 km), Khaibar-1 (100 km), Zelzal 2 (210 km), Fateh-110 (300 km), and Scud B-C (500 km). Tel Aviv knows what that means, and shudders at the frequent warnings by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that its next war with Israel will be conducted inside that country.

Which brings us to Iran. The key immediate consequence of Al-Aqsa Flood is that the Washington neocon wet dream of “normalization” between Israel and the Arab world will simply vanish if this turns into a Long War. Large swathes of the Arab world in fact are already normalizing their ties with Tehran – and not only inside the newly expanded BRICS 11. In the drive towards a multipolar world, represented by BRICS 11, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among other groundbreaking Eurasian and Global South institutions, there’s simply no place for an ethnocentric Apartheid state fond of collective punishment.

Just this year, Israel found itself disinvited from the African Union summit. An Israeli delegation showed up anyway, and was unceremoniously ejected from the big hall, a visual that went viral. At the UN plenary sessions last month, a lone Israeli diplomat sought to disrupt Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi’s speech. No western ally stood by his side, and he too, was ejected from the premises. As Chinese President Xi Jinping diplomatically put it in December 2022, Beijing “firmly supports the establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations.”

Tehran’s strategy is way more ambitious – offering strategic advice to West Asian resistance movements from the Levant to the Persian Gulf: Hezbollah, Ansarallah, Hashd al-Shaabi, Kataib Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and countless others. It’s as if they are all part of a new Grand Chessboard de facto supervised by Grandmaster Iran. The pieces in the chessboard were carefully positioned by none other than the late Quds Force Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani, a once-in-a-lifetime military genius. He was instrumental in creating the foundations for the cumulative successes of Iranian allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine, as well as creating the conditions for a complex operation such as Al-Aqsa Flood.

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“..Hamas’ attack “destroyed the myths around Israel’s defense systems” and achieved for Hamas a more important moral victory than the military success of the attack..”

Russian Views of the Hamas-Israeli Conflict (Paul Craig Roberts)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova asked: “How did it happen that in a year; that’s how much time the operation was being prepared for, then carried out now in a few days, the United States as Israel’s closest ally did not warn about this? They have satellites everywhere, appropriate tracking devices, military bases, including in the region. There are all the possibilities to carry out, not just monitoring, but surveillance — the facts speak for themselves — of all information circulating on American-made equipment (hardware and software). For the whole year of preparing such a large-scale operation, the United States with all the power of its special services did not transmit anything to Israel as intelligence…How did it happen that during the whole year of preparation of the corresponding operation in the Middle East, the United States did not transmit any information to its partners in Israel?”

Moscow security affairs analyst Yevgeny Krutikov says the huge amount of weapons used in Hamas’ attack “could not fall from the sky. How did they get there (Gaza)?” The publication Vzglyad, a platform for Russian military thinking, published an article that concluded that Hamas’ attack “destroyed the myths around Israel’s defense systems” and achieved for Hamas a more important moral victory than the military success of the attack. Israel’s support for Ukraine against Russia has caused the Kremlin to rethink its relationship with Israel. Vzglyad reported that the Israeli government has become Russia’s adversary: “The time has come to take a new position on the Palestinian issue . . . to take a more pro-Palestinian position in the Middle East Conflict. To stand on the side of those who help Russia within the framework of their own interests (Iran, Saudi Arabia) against those who help our enemies. And thereby to send a very clear signal to the world – a signal that Russia will treat its partners exactly as they treat it. To help supporters – and not to act in the interests of opponents.”

It is possible that Israel’s military has been corrupted by too much American money, has been getting by on past successes, and has underestimated the Arabs. Washington is no longer the uni-power in the Middle East. The Russians, Turks, Syrians, Iranians, Saudis, and Hezbollah in Lebanon could all go to the aid of Palestine. Hezbollah alone has twice defeated Israeli invasions of Lebanon. Netanyahu’s invasion of Gaza could put Israel’s existence in jeopardy. In other words, Netanyahu’s plan to complete the conquest of Palestine could result in Israel’s destruction. On the other hand, the enmity among Muslims could again result in Muslim impotence and Israel’s success. My initial view was that Hamas’ attack would result in the disappearance of Palestine and no one would interfere. Now I am unsure. Netanyahu could be setting off a wider conflict from which Israel would not emerge a victor and Washington would have to choose between accepting defeat and using nuclear weapons.

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“..Netanyahu “wants to open up the war with Lebanon, by attacking Hezbollah” in pursuit of his ultimate objective, “to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities..”

Netanyahu Wants US Involved In War – Ex-Pentagon Official (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like Washington directly involved in the conflict with Hamas because he hopes to expand the war to Lebanon and Iran, a former senior security policy analyst at the US Department of Defense, Michael Maloof, told RT on Wednesday. On Monday, the US ordered the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and five guided missile destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean. According to Maloof, this “meets Netanyahu’s wildest dreams.” “He wanted the US involved in this conflict,” the former Pentagon official told RT. Netanyahu “wants to open up the war with Lebanon, by attacking Hezbollah” in pursuit of his ultimate objective, “to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities,” Maloof added. For that to happen, “he has to have a Gulf of Tonkin moment, if you will.”

Maloof recalled how US President Lyndon Johnson essentially started the Vietnam War by sending ships to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. An alleged North Vietnamese attack on two US destroyers was then used as a pretext for direct involvement. The US has also pledged to help Israel with deliveries of weapons and ammunition, with the Pentagon insisting it has enough to do so and continue supplying Ukraine. Maloof is skeptical of that assertion, however. He also told RT it was “not surprising” that some of the weapons Washington had sent Kiev ended up in the hands of Hamas. That accusation was first made by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Ukraine’s military intelligence, the GUR, responded on Monday by accusing Russia of sending captured Western weapons to Hamas militants in a “false flag” operation designed to make Kiev look bad to its backers. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the weapons claim, but rejected the Ukrainian insinuations of Russian involvement in the Hamas attack as “complete nonsense.”

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“There are no intentions, no plans to put American troops on the ground in combat.”

US Won’t Fight For Israel – White House (RT)

No American troops will be deployed to Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House on Thursday. The US will continue to supply the Israel Defense Forces in their fight against Hamas, however. “We have national security interests throughout the region,”Kirby said at the daily press briefing, referring to the deployment of a carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean, but quashed any rumors of airborne troops or Marines being sent to Israel. “The Israelis have made it very clear that they don’t want foreign troops on their soil, that they want to prosecute these operations on their own and they have every right to want to do that,” Kirby said. “There are no intentions, no plans to put American troops on the ground in combat.”

The US already has “some experts” providing West Jerusalem with “advice and counsel” on how to free hostages taken by Hamas, and maintains a “terrific information and intelligence-sharing relationship” with Israel, as well as “a strong defense relationship, when it comes to providing weapons and munitions,” Kirby added. The IDF is “small but very capable”and the US is “doing everything we can to improve those capabilities,” he added. Earlier in the day, IDF chief of staff General Herzi Halevi said that the military “failed” to protect Israel and its people on Saturday, and that there would be a reckoning once the war against Hamas was over.

The Palestinian group that controls much of Gaza struck on the anniversary of the 1973 war, launching thousands of rockets into Israel and sending more than 1,000 militants to breach the border fence in an operation dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’. Hamas fighters stormed 22 towns, villages, and settlements, as well as a music festival being held near Gaza. Israel responded by launching airstrikes against Gaza, while deploying tanks and artillery to the southern border. So far, around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel and at least 1,100 in Gaza, according to local officials.

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Message from the arms industry.

US Must Prepare For War With China And Russia – Congress (RT)

Washington needs to urgently update and expand both its nuclear arsenal and the conventional military in order to face the combined might of Moscow and Beijing, the congressional Strategic Posture Commission argued in its final report published on Thursday. “The United States and its allies must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously,” the commission said. “The US-led international order and the values it upholds are at risk from the Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes.” While the commission has not identified any specific evidence of Russia and China working together, “we worry… there may be ultimate coordination between them in some way, which gets us to this two-war construct,” a senior official involved in the report told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.

The current US national security strategy calls for defeating one major adversary while deterring another. The commission argued that the combined threat from China and Russia will become acute as early as 2027 so “decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared.” The 131 findings and 81 recommendations in the report amount to the need for massive expansion of both the conventional armed forces and the Nuclear Triad. The report demands more of the B-21 stealth bombers and Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. The B-21 is still in development and is expected to enter service by 2027 at the earliest. The first two Columbia-class subs are under construction and are expected in 2030. The US Navy has planned to order 12, to replace the 18 Ohio-class boats currently in service.

“Amid all of the Commission’s recommendations to increase the number of strategic and tactical nuclear systems, there is almost no mention of cost in the entire report,” which “does not seem to acknowledge any limits to defense spending,” the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has said in response. At a press event announcing the report, the commission’s vice-chair, retired Republican Senator Jon Kyl, argued that higher military spending is a small price to “hopefully preclude” a possible nuclear war and that President Joe Biden and Congress need to “take the case to the American people” to spend more money.

According to FAS, however, the commission’s recommendations are “likely to exacerbate the arms race, further constrict the window for engaging with Russia and China on arms control, and redirect funding away from more proximate priorities.” The only reason the commission did not argue for an immediate expansion of the US nuclear stockpile “is that the weapons production complex currently does not have the capacity to do so,” FAS noted, adding that there is no need for a nuclear arms race so long as the US has enough submarines to present a credible deterrent to a first strike by an adversary.

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“The rising centers of power do not want to put up with an aggressive Western dictate.”

Struggle For Future Of World Order ‘Intensifying’ – Moscow (RT)

The world is facing a “classic revolutionary situation” in the field of international relations, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, said on Thursday. An ever-increasing number of the “rising powers” around the world want more independence in their foreign policy and dislike the crumbling hegemony of the West, which it is desperately trying to preserve, he added. “The West, led by the US, can no longer ensure its dominance on a global scale,” Naryshkin told a meeting of intelligence chiefs of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Baku. “The rising centers of power do not want to put up with an aggressive Western dictate.” In its efforts to maintain a unipolar world, the US deliberately tries to destabilize key world regions, he believes.

Washington and its allies in London and Paris do not hesitate when it comes to manipulating various destructive forces on the international arena to achieve these goals, he stated, adding that the list of such forces includes international terrorist groups, radical Islamists, and ultranationalist movements. According to Naryshkin, America’s efforts have disrupted the peace process in Syria and exacerbated the situation in Afghanistan. They have also recently turned their eyes towards Africa, where they have allegedly encouraged various militant factions to launch attacks against the infrastructure in Mali and the Central African Republic, the Russian spy chief said, citing what he called “reliable information” in his agency’s possession.

The West orchestrates “sabotage operations against African nations that are friendly to Russia,” Naryshkin claimed, adding that the group of the seven biggest developed economies known as the G7 also “actively work against Russia.” The West openly hosts and supports various “separatist terrorist structures calling for subversion of the Russian state order and violation of its territorial integrity,” the official said, naming the so-called ‘Free Nations of Post-Russia’ Forum among them. A loose association of various opposition activists, as well as ethnic and regional separatist movements, the forum openly advocates the disintegration of Russia under the slogans of “decolonization” and “de-occupation.” In March, it was designated an “undesirable organization” in Russia.

Three meetings of the forum have already been hosted, with two taking place in Poland and one in the Czech Republic. The fourth meeting is scheduled to be held in Sweden in December. “It is obvious to any sensible person that the manifestation of such … desires would have led to Eurasia plunging into a horrible ethnic and religious conflict,” Naryshkin said, calling it evidence of Washington’s intent to “set the Eurasian continent on fire.” The West is “playing with fire” and “the future of the world order is at stake,” he warned, calling on “more responsible global and regional actors” to join their forces and coordinate their efforts to prevent destabilization instigated by the West and lead the world towards a multipolar world order.

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“Zelensky admitted that Ukraine is afraid of a possible shortage of financial resources and weapons. He added that Kiev has “many more fears” in the current situation.”

Zelensky Final Stage of Conflict Statement Shows Hopelessness – Lavrov (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent statement on Kiev entering a final stage of conflict with Moscow shows his hopelessness, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. “I think [of it] as an admission of hopelessness,” Lavrov told reporters, when asked about Zelenskyy’s statement. Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with a Romanian TV channel that the conflict in Ukraine is at its final stage. In addition, Zelensky admitted that Ukraine is afraid of a possible shortage of financial resources and weapons. He added that Kiev has “many more fears” in the current situation. In September, Lavrov said at a press conference after his speech at the UN General Assembly that Russia was ready for talks on Ukraine, but would not consider proposals for a ceasefire.

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Borrell is headed for China, and he doesn’t come empty handed. No, he comes with criticism and demands. Which is the one thing you don’t do on such an occasion.

He also said: “It is time China started taking Europe more seriously..” Well, you just assured they won’t. You are the anti-diplomat.

Beijing Can’t Be Neutral On ‘Fox Entering Henhouse’ – Borrell (RT)

China should do more to convince Kiev and its Western backers that it is not on Moscow’s side in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said ahead of a visit to the Asian superpower. He expressed doubt that neutrality on the issue is even possible. “Being neutral in such a case is just like watching on the sidelines as the fox enters the henhouse and waiting for the outcome,” he said in an interview with the South China Morning Post on Thursday. Beijing has criticized its ally, Moscow for using force, but agreed with Russian claims that NATO expansion in Europe was one of the main causes of the conflict. The EU has joined the US in describing Russia’s actions as “unprovoked aggression.” Moscow has said the conflict is part of a Western proxy war.

“China can certainly do more, including in its engagement on the peace formula put forward by Ukraine,” the commissioner added, stating that “a lot remains to be done to convince Ukraine that China is not on Russia’s side.” The ‘Zelensky formula’ that Borrell was referring to was put forward by Kiev and its backers as the only way to resolve the conflict. It demands that Russia concede defeat, pay reparations, and hand over alleged war criminals to an international tribunal. Beijing proposed its own roadmap to de-escalation last year, urging respect for the territorial integrity “of all countries” while addressing Russia’s national security concerns. Moscow has dismissed Kiev’s plan, saying it is “detached from reality,” while the Chinese proposal could serve as the basis for a long-term solution.

Borrell said his goal during the three-day visit is to affirm that “Europe takes China seriously and has no hidden agenda aiming at derailing its rise.” Brussels expects Beijing to take it seriously in return and to “stop looking at us through the lens of its relations with others.” He added that the “war in Ukraine has transformed us … from the position of an economic power to a geopolitical one, taking its strategic responsibilities very seriously.” The EU has decoupled its economy from Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The rejection of cheap Russian energy undercut the competitiveness of many businesses in member states, some of which relocated to other nations, including the US.

Senior EU officials have argued that the bloc needs to “de-risk” economic relations with China, specifically citing its non-alignment on Ukraine as a reason. “How China continues to interact with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war will be a determining factor for EU-China relations going forward,” European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen said in March. Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that Beijing is standing up “for its sovereignty, security and development interests,” when he hosted the EU official the following month.

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And the US is trying to do them one better.

Europe Made A ‘Grave Mistake’ On Immigration – Kissinger (Az.)

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that nations in Europe were wrong to take in many people who are now supporting Hamas’ actions against Israel. Unless the militant group is punished for its hostage-taking, Europeans risk being targeted similarly, he warned. In an interview published on Wednesday, Mathias Dopfner, the CEO of German media group Axel Springer, asked the veteran statesman about “Arabs celebrating” in the streets of Berlin after Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel last week. Kissinger, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, said he found such gestures of support for criminal acts “painful.” “It was a grave mistake to let in so many people of totally different cultural and religious concepts because it creates a pressure group inside each country that does that,” he noted.

Asked what Germany and the EU should do in the current situation, Kissinger said he expected “unconditional” political support for Israel – as well as military suppor if needed. “There has to be some penalty; there has to be some serious limitation on their capability of taking this kind of action,” he said of Hamas tactics. “I would say that every European nation has the same interest because the same attitude might erupt in the direction of Europe,” he warned. Washington’s former top diplomat recalled peace talks that resolved the Yom Kippur War five decades ago, saying that Western nations and Israel were lucky to have an Arab leader “with a vision of the future” in Anwar Sadat, the former president of Egypt.

“I don’t think it is possible to find leaders among the Hamas group [with a similar vision],” he said, “I think Hamas should be excluded from a political role.” Pro-Palestinian rallies were held in multiple European cities amid the escalation in the Middle East. In Berlin, police broke down a spontaneous demonstration on Saturday, which was associated with the NGO Samidoun. The German law enforcement said the protesters posed an “immediate threat to public safety” due to “anti-Israel” chants “glorifying violence.” The German government was at the forefront of welcoming asylum-seekers during the 2015 influx, when some 1.3 million people arrived on the continent in just one year. Anti-migrant sentiments surged in many nations during the crisis, with some Eastern European members of the EU adopting policies to curb immigration.

Tucker

Read more …

“I didn’t want to be dishonest, but I didn’t want them to know the truth.”

‘Star Witness’ Ellison Unveils Chaos Behind FTX’s Fake Balance Sheets (ZH)

What would a second day of testimony in the FTX trial for Caroline Ellison have been without mentions of identity theft from Thai prostitutes and bribing Chinese officials? Taking the stand on Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried’s former love interest turned star government witness against him, Ellison, spoke about the balance sheet that led to the downfall of Bankman-Fried’s companies. Ellison stated that this balance sheet was a manipulated version of what Alameda had sent to its lenders, deliberately crafted to give the impression that the firm was in a more robust financial condition than was actually the case. She described the document as “deceptive.” Previously it had been reported that, at Bankman-Fried’s direction, Ellison had “prepared seven different versions of Alameda’s balance sheet to potentially show to lenders,” according to The Messenger.

However, even the manipulated figures were concerning—laden with FTX’s FTT token and other tokens closely affiliated with Bankman-Fried—casting doubt on the financial viability of both Alameda and FTX. Among potential lenders was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Ellison testified Wednesday. She also lied to Genesis, one of FTX’s lenders, about Alameda’s balance sheet, @teddyschleifer reported on X Wednesday. “Caroline Ellison testified that Sam Bankman-Fried ordered her to lie in mid 2022 to Genesis, one of FTX’s lenders, about Alameda’s balance sheet,” he wrote. “Caroline prepared a bunch of bullshit balance-sheets that they could send, and Sam chose ‘Alternative 7’ as the best lie of the bunch.” Ellison reportedly said: “I didn’t want to be dishonest, but I didn’t want them to know the truth.”

Ellison testified on Wednesday: “I was in a constant state of dread. I knew we would have to take the money from our line of credit and that was money that could be called in at any time.” And where was the money going? Ellison testified that she and Alameda executives had “paid a large bribe to Chinese officials” to obtain funds that were locked on a Chinese exchange. After initial attempts to unfreeze funds by negotiating with the Chinese government through lawyers proved unsuccessful, Ellison stated that the FTX/Alameda team then endeavored—yet failed again—to access the funds by setting up fictitious exchange accounts using IDs that she believed belonged to “Thai prostitutes.”

Ultimately, Ellison was able to secure the funds after making a $100 million payment to a cryptocurrency account she believed was somehow connected to Chinese government officials. Ellison recounted an episode where an employee, whose father was a Chinese government official, voiced objections to the plan during a meeting. In response, Bankman-Fried became increasingly irritated and eventually told the employee to “shut the f*** up.” In a confidential “State of Alameda” memo authored by Ellison in November 2021, shortly after the payment was executed, she included an entry labeled “-150m from the thing?” under a section outlining “notable/idiosyncratic” financial events.

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It’s a power game.

CEO of X -aka Twitter- Responds To EU ‘Disinfo’ Threats (RT)

The CEO of X (formerly Twitter), Linda Yaccarino, has defended the platform’s response to a purported surge in disinformation and harmful content following Hamas’ attack on Israel in an open letter to EU internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton on Wednesday. The social media platform has “redistributed resources” and “refocused teams” to manage the flow of information regarding the conflict 24/7, Yaccarino explained, claiming that a dedicated “leadership group” had been assembled in the immediate aftermath of the Palestinian militants’ incursion to devise a platform-wide strategy. As a result, she said, tens of thousands of posts and other media related to the war had been removed since Saturday, while hundreds of accounts allegedly connected to terrorist groups, extremism, and violence had been deplatformed.

“There is no place on X for terrorist organization or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts,” Yaccarino wrote. More than 700 Community Notes, the crowdsourced fact-checking platform owner Elon Musk has promoted as an alternative to establishment fact-checkers, are circulating regarding the conflict, she continued, revealing that the annotations are being published faster than ever before. Breton had warned Musk in an “urgent” open letter on Tuesday that X was facing a potential investigation and steep penalties under the EU’s new Digital Services Act if it did not immediately address the illegal content and disinformation purportedly running rampant on the platform regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The billionaire was given 24 hours to respond to Breton’s demands, which included an order to reach out to law enforcement in order to “ensure [X] respond[s] promptly to their requests.” In her response, Yaccarino insisted that X was responding readily to requests from law enforcement, but that it had received none from Europol at the time of writing. While Breton had claimed that the EU had “indications” X was being used to spread both disinformation and illegal content, suggesting “qualified sources” had confirmed the platform was flouting EU regulations, he did not mention any specific violations in his letter. Musk repeatedly requested examples in a thread on X, but Breton demurred, claiming the Tesla CEO was “well aware” of complaints regarding “fake content and glorification of violence.”

X’s Safety division revealed earlier this week that the platform had seen an increase in daily active users in Israel and Palestine and was specifically targeting new Hamas-affiliated accounts for removal via a partnership with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. On Wednesday, Breton also reached out to threaten Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg with a similar “urgent” letter, warning the billionaire he had 24 hours to provide the bloc with a detailed description of how his platform was addressing the spread of disinformation and illegal content regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

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“..Just as Bobby Kennedy sees a path to victory as an independent, so do the donors that were reluctant to contribute with him running as a Democrat..”

RFK Jr. Sees Surge in Fundraising After Declaring Independent Run (ET)

Within hours of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement that he will run for president as an independent and not a Democrat, the super PAC supporting his candidacy raised more than $11 million. American Values 2024 disclosed on Oct. 10 that it has generated $11.28 million since Mr. Kennedy told an audience in front of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, “I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States.” Individual events have spurred bountiful fundraising for Mr. Kennedy. In September, a private fundraiser performance by musician Eric Clapton generated more than $2 million that was split between the campaign and American Values 2024.

The organization tallied about $6.47 million in July from a mix of donors who are registered Democrats and Republicans, according to American Values 2024. That number included about $5 million collected during Mr. Kennedy’s testimony in a hearing about censorship before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Individuals can give as much as $3,300 to a political candidate’s campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. Super political action committees (PACs) are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals and “spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates,” according to OpenSecrets, an organization that tracks money in U.S. politics and its impact on elections and public policy.

RFK

Unlike traditional PACs, super PACS may not contribute money directly to political candidates. Prominent Democratic Party donors like Abby Rockefeller have contributed to American Values 2024, but Republican donors have given a majority of the money the super PAC has received, including former President Donald Trump donor Tim Mellon, according to American Values 2024 reports. Tony Lyons, co-chair of American Values 2024, spoke to The Epoch Times about the influx of support. “People feel that the Democratic National Committee was disenfranchising them and that Bobby would not get the nomination based on the rules the DNC was putting into place and the inflammatory statements they have made about him time after time,” he said.

“They feel that their vote wouldn’t count, and that their donation wouldn’t be helpful because the primary would be rigged. Just as Bobby Kennedy sees a path to victory as an independent, so do the donors that were reluctant to contribute with him running as a Democrat,” Mr. Lyons explained. George Washington, America’s first president, is the only independent candidate to win election to the nation’s highest office. No independent candidate has won an electoral vote in the past 50 years. America, Mr. Kennedy believes, is ready for “a new page in American politics.”

Read more …

 

 

KATT
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712287531046260927

 

 


..the Appalachian Mountains, the Atlas Mountains, the Scottish Highlands, the Watkins Range and Scandinavian Mountains were all once part of the same mountain range, the Central Pangean Mountains

 

 

ParrotTV
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712353934323470658

 

 

Deer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712427895950577884

 

 

Friday
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712704619132953084

 

 

ART

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 302023
 


Edward Bawden Sahara 1928

 

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

 

 

Fires and riots in Paris overnight.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

RFK Maher

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Zel 2019

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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“even more disastrous” than previously thought..”

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

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

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

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

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

Much more in the article.

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

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

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

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

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The home of the brave lets others do its fighting.

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

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

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

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

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

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There will be no Ukraine left.

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

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

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

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

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“For A Hot Minute..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Zelensky Ally Attacks Hungary’s Orban (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Insultingly stupid.

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

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


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

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How to please Erdogan.

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

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

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

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

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

Trump and Attorney-Client Privilege (Felten)

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

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

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

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

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Is Rumsfeld still alive?

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

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

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

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

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Carson

 

 

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

 

 

Beluga

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 122023
 


George Bellows The Lone Tenement 1909

 

NYT Reveals Western Definition Of Success For Ukraine’s Counteroffensive (RT)
Botched Start of Counteroffensive Likely Extremely Frustrating for Biden (Sp.)
Most Countries Side With Russia in Ukraine, US Credibility Slips – Hersh (Sp.)
More Than 10 of 31 NATO States Don’t Support Ukraine’s Bid – Kiev (RT)
West Has Zero Chances To Bring Russia To Its Knees, Says Top Senator (TASS)
Losing The War – What Comes Next On The Battlefield (Helmer)
Ukraine’s Propaganda Machine Is Vital For Zelensky (Lavrenin)
The Hegemon Will Go Full Hybrid War Against BRICS+ (Pepe Escobar)
Rand Paul: My Colleagues Are ‘Beating The Drums’ For ‘War With China’ (RS)
Imran Khan Claims US Plotted Against Him After Russia Deal (RT)
One Document Americans Should ‘Demand’ That Will Topple Biden (CB)
Schiff Complains About $16 Million Fine Over Trump-Russia Collusion Claim (CB)
De-Dollarization is Remedy Against US Militarism (Michael Hudson)
Europe’s Digital Services Act Puts Free Speech at the Mercy of Eurocrats (BI)

 

 

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1667826698476453889

 

 


4 U.S.Code Ch. 1, Sec. 7(e): “The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags…are grouped and displayed…”

 

 

RFK event 201
https://twitter.com/i/status/1667890309668192256

 

 

 

 

Ratcliffe

 

 

 

 

COP28

 

 

 

 

Xi Jinping: Stop blaming China. China does not help the Russian Federation, but if it decides to help, God will not help you. Almost the whole world helps Ukraine. If we see the threat of World War III, we will help the Russian Federation, but for now, relax and watch how Russia single-handedly defeats more than 50 countries of the world.

 

 

 

 

“..retake key areas lost to Moscow or deliver a “debilitating” blow to Russian forces..”

“..Kiev’s forces have been suffering far heavier casualties in those failed attacks than the “classic” three-to-one ratio..”

NYT Reveals Western Definition Of Success For Ukraine’s Counteroffensive (RT)

The West would consider Ukraine’s counteroffensive a success if Kiev were to retake key areas lost to Moscow or deliver a “debilitating” blow to Russian forces, the New York Times has reported, citing US and EU officials. “Much rides on the outcome” of the counteroffensive as it will likely impact further Western military support for Ukraine and future discussions on security guarantees for the country, the US paper said in an article on Saturday. Publicly, US and EU officials claim it’s up to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to decide what to define as a success in the long-awaited operation, the NYT noted.

Zelensky previously said he wanted his forces to win back all land lost to Moscow, which includes Russia’s newly incorporated territories – the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions – along with Crimea, which became part of the Russian Federation in 2014 following a referendum, launched in response to a coup in Kiev. “Privately, US and European officials concede that pushing all of Russia’s forces out of occupied Ukrainian land is highly unlikely,” the NYT wrote. Two main outcomes are being discussed in the West as ideas of a success in the counteroffensive, according to the paper. The first is that “the Ukrainian army retake and hold on to key swaths of territory previously occupied by the Russians,” and the second is if Kiev’s troops deliver “a debilitating blow that forces the Kremlin to question the future of its military options in Ukraine.” On Thursday, news website Politico reported that the White House was “anxiously watching” the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, as administration officials believe President Joe Biden’s reputation depends on its results.

Kiev was expected to launch a major counteroffensive at some point in spring, having been supplied with Western armor intended for the task, but the operation has been delayed on numerous occasions. On Saturday, Zelensky finally confirmed that Ukrainian “counteroffensive actions” were underway. This followed a week of intensified attacks on Russian fortified positions across the frontline by Kiev’s troops. They involved German-made Leopard 2 tanks and US-supplied Bradley fighting vehicles, some of which have already been destroyed. President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia’s military has so far prevented all attempts to advance by Ukraine. Kiev’s forces have been suffering far heavier casualties in those failed attacks than the “classic” three-to-one ratio often expected during offensive operations, Putin insisted.

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“Destruction of Leopard stopped the US from sending Abrams tanks to Kyiv. Military observer, retired colonel Viktor Litovkin told the media that the destruction of Leopard tanks in Ukraine showed Washington the pointlessness of sending its Abrams tanks to Kyiv. According to the expert, the United States knew that Leopard tanks would “burn” in Ukraine, so they did not let Abrams into the special operation zone. Washington did not want the destruction of American tanks by Russian troops to deal a blow to the image of their military equipment.”

Botched Start of Counteroffensive Likely Extremely Frustrating for Biden (Sp.)

With Russia continuing its special military operation in Ukraine, it is safe to say that Kiev’s much-hyped counteroffensive kicked off with “not really a good start,” international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda told Sputnik. President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week that Kiev’s use of strategic reserves during recent attacks means it can be “stated with absolute certainty” that the much-anticipated counteroffensive had begun. He stressed that thus far, Ukrainian forces have failed to achieve their objectives and that their advance-related plans had been thwarted by Russian troops.

All this “has got to be extremely frustrating” not only for the political figures of the Kiev regime, but for US President Joe Biden as well, given his murky past regarding Ukraine, Sleboda pointed out, claiming that the POTUS “has been intimately involved with Ukraine since the Obama presidency.” The analyst was apparently referring to Biden facing allegations that he was purportedly engaged in a spate of corrupt activities related to the employment of his son Hunter Biden by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma while he was the US vice president under Barack Obama. Biden has repeatedly rejected the allegations that he withheld loan guarantees to pressure Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to prevent a corruption investigation into Burisma and protect his son.

Sleboda recalled in this regard that a US news outlet recently claimed that “Biden’s reputation is on the line in Ukraine,” which, he said, is “an interesting political salvo at POTUS considering the situation.” Touching upon the counteroffensive, the analyst said that while the Ukrainian military “hasn’t committed the majority of their forces yet, everything they’ve thrown so far has failed to breach Russian lines for any significant period at any place for an entire week now.” “That has got to have him [Biden] worried if his political legacy is on the line,” Sleboda underscored. “From everything that we have seen so far, I expect them to make some headway eventually, but they’re not off to a really good start. “I expect some dirty tricks, some cunning maneuver to be pulled out of the bag,” Sleboda concluded.

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“Much more than a half of the world’s population supports Russia in the war and not the United States. This was never the way it was..”

Most Countries Side With Russia in Ukraine, US Credibility Slips – Hersh (Sp.)

Most of the world’s population supports Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, while the United States lost its credibility, Pulitzer Prize-winning US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said on Sunday. “The percentage of the [countries], particularly of the African and Central Asian and South Asian countries, that have changed from being pro-America to being pro-Russia is really quite dramatic. Much more than a half of the world’s population supports Russia in the war and not the United States. This was never the way it was,” Hersh said in an interview with talk show host George Galloway. The journalist opined that “things are not as good as they used to be in Russia” amid Western sanctions, but “the idea that they are desperate is just wrong.”


Hersh also argued that Washington “lost so much credibility around the world,” citing Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic rapprochement with Iran as an example. “It’s happened because, I think, because of Ukraine and dislike of the war. Saudi Arabia, by the way, they’re selling 25% of [their] oil to China, as I have mentioned, but the Saudis immediately cut a deal. And the Iranians immediately responded … They have a lot of control in Yemen over the Houthi tribes,” Hersh said. Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, following calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The world has split into those who support Moscow and accuse NATO of provoking the conflict, and those who condemn Russia’s actions and impose sanctions on the country, while also ramping up their financial and military aid to Kiev. Some countries have avoided taking sides in the conflict.

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“..another stage of preparation for the successful NATO Summit in Vilnius in July..” Huh?

More Than 10 of 31 NATO States Don’t Support Ukraine’s Bid – Kiev (RT)

More than ten NATO member states out of 31 don’t want Ukraine to join the US-led military bloc, Igor Zhovkva, the deputy head of Vladimir Zelensky’s office, has stated.Kiev already has 20 signed declarations of support for its NATO bid, Zhovkva wrote on Facebook on Saturday. This means that 11 member states have so far refused to back Kiev’s application. Zhovkva published his post hours after Zelensky and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a document in Kiev that signaled Ottawa’s consent to Ukraine becoming a part of NATO. “The joint declaration clearly fixes backing for Ukraine’s membership of NATO from the Canadian side as soon as conditions permit this. This is the strongest wording among all G7 countries that are NATO members,” Zhovkva wrote. A similar declaration has also recently been signed with the government of Romania, Zhovkva added.


According to the deputy head of Vladimir Zelensky’s office, those developments were “another stage of preparation for the successful NATO Summit in Vilnius in July” for Ukraine. Earlier this week, US envoy to NATO Julianne Smith told Politico that “a proper invitation” into NATO for Ukraine is “unlikely” as long as Kiev remains in conflict with Moscow. However, Smith pointed out that during the upcoming gathering in the Lithuanian capital, the bloc still wanted to send a message to Kiev that it was determined to keep helping it in the long term. There’s an “array of options” for NATO to do so, she added. Russia, which sees NATO’s eastward expansion as a major security threat, had singled out Kiev’s push to join the US-led military alliance among the main reasons for launching its military operation in Ukraine more than a year ago.

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“..it must be strong in all respects, technologically, economically, socially and morally and, what is especially important today, militarily and in the security sphere..”

West Has Zero Chances To Bring Russia To Its Knees, Says Top Senator (TASS)

The months that have passed since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine have shown that the West has zero chances to crush Russia and bring it to its knees, Chairwoman of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) Valentina Matviyenko said on Sunday. “If we speak about our actions inside the country, the main conclusion is perfectly clear: Russia must be strong. Moreover, it must be strong in all respects, technologically, economically, socially and morally and, what is especially important today, militarily and in the security sphere,” the top senator said on her blog on the eve of Russia Day celebrated on June 12. “Today, 15 months after the start of the special military operation, it is perfectly clear that there are zero chances to crush our country and bring it to its knees. Russia’s victory in the conflict around Ukraine is inevitable,” Matviyenko stressed.


The Russian authorities have managed within the shortest time possible to adapt the state, society and the economy to new realities, she pointed out. “They have managed to do this without deteriorating the quality of people’s life, without any flip-flopping in the public and political sphere, without even the slightest restrictions of citizens’ rights and freedoms. Without abrupt changes in economic management, although there were plenty of calls for that,” the top senator said. “Of course, we are fully aware that we will have to face new serious challenges and we need to address them fully prepared, which will, undoubtedly, require a new quality of interaction between the authorities and society. We will ensure this because over the thirty years of Russia’s newest history we have put a reliable and strong foundation under our state and public system,” Matviyenko stressed.

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“..demilitarization will be run by the Russian General Staff until there are no strategic reserves left on the territory – not east of the Dnieper River, nor west..”

Losing The War – What Comes Next On The Battlefield (Helmer)

On May 30 Putin signaled that in the outcome of the war, the Ukraine will cease to exist. “Basically, the territory that is called Ukraine”, Putin said, using the geographic term instead of the political and legal one, “was virtually controlled from the very beginning by people who, being led by the West, took the path of not just confronting Russia, but creating an “anti-Russia” on that territory… We are striking at the territory of Ukraine, but with long-range precision weapons, at military infrastructure facilities only, either at ammunition or fuel and lubricants warehouses used for combat operations. We have talked about the possibility of striking at decision-making centres. Of course, the headquarters of Ukrainian military intelligence is one of them, and a strike at this target was carried out two or three days ago. In response, the Kiev regime has chosen a different path – attempts to intimidate Russian citizens with strikes at residential buildings. This is an obvious terrorist approach.” In short, the Russian campaign is not against a state but on a territory run by terrorists.

The terrorist operations, it was implied, include the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines on September 26, 2022; the Crimean Bridge bombing of October 8, 2022; the drone attacks on Russian targets, including the Kremlin, last month; and the subsequent operations against the Kakhovskaya dam and the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline on June 5-6. Putin’s May 30 statement was followed by a second, also apparently impromptu comment on the evening of June 9. The novel elements in what follows are the references to Ukrainian “strategic reserves” and to the Russian General Staff. “First, we can safely state that the offensive has begun. We know this from the fact that the Ukrainian army tapped its strategic reserves. This is my first point. Second, the Ukrainian troops failed to achieve their goals in all combat sectors, which is clear as day…I cannot say that the offensive has got bogged down. All I can say is that the counteroffensive attempts that have been made so far failed. But the offensive potential of the Kiev’s regime is still there. I believe Russia’s military leadership is realistic in its assessments of the situation and will proceed from these realities as it continues to plan up our actions in the short term.”

Since the commander-in-chief is doing the talking, he’s saying that he is letting “Russia’s military leadership” do all the running now, and it will be the military “realities” which will dictate the politics of the outcome. This also means that the “realities” of the territory of the Ukraine will be decided by military operations which, on the Russian side, have yet to get fully under way until the Ukrainian “strategic reserves” have been fully committed and defeated on the battlefield. Putin’s reference to “strategic reserves” includes the US and NATO weapons which have been committed so far, and destroyed — and those still to come from stocks in Poland, Romania, Germany, and in the western territory around Lvov. Against them, Putin noted “the high effectiveness of Russian weapons, especially the latest weapons. Indeed, we still do not have enough of the latest weapons, but the arms industry, the country’s defence industry is making strides, and I am sure that the defence industry will, without a doubt, fulfil its goals. The production of modern types of weapons is going at a fast pace.”

What does this mean? In the first place, demilitarization will be run by the Russian General Staff until there are no strategic reserves left on the territory – not east of the Dnieper River, nor west. If the NATO summit scheduled for July 11-12 in Vilnius is planning to place the rump of the Ukraine under NATO protection – “a certain order of accession”, according to Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Gavrilov — then Putin is warning that there will be a Russian military solution to ensure that this cannot happen.

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“Today, information warfare is the core structure of any war..”

Ukraine’s Propaganda Machine Is Vital For Zelensky (Lavrenin)

In more than a year of hostilities, Kiev’s use of symbols and memes to raise or maintain morale and help control the narrative has been streamlined to a surprising extent. Google’s ranking of top Ukrainian search queries in 2022 is more proof. For example, in the “person” category, Ukrainians most often Googled “Alexey Arestovich” and showed interest in the “ghost of Kiev,” a legend of a supposed hero pilot which The Wall Street Journal admitted was fake military propaganda intended to raise morale. In the “purchase of the year” category, the postage stamp “Russian Ship” was among the most popular search queries. This was a stamp issued in honor of the soldiers on Snake Island who, as the fake story went, responded in abusive language to an offer from a Russian ship’s crew to surrender and fought to the death.

These border guards were “posthumously” awarded the Hero of Ukraine decoration but later it was revealed that all of them had voluntarily surrendered and were alive. The triumph of these symbols, which have endured long after being confirmed as fake, is a result of the information bubble in which Ukrainian society and much of the West has found itself. In the past year and a half since opposition media was blocked, government-controlled outlets are often the only source of information for Ukrainians. “Today, information warfare is the core structure of any war. It is very important to have influence over a society that is involved in combat. Moreover, it is essential to convince the world community of the rightness of our actions in order to receive further support. Not only authorized persons can take part in this information war, but also regular citizens who ‘fight’ at their own discretion,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maliar said in February.

Information and Psychological Operations (IPsO) are intended to brainwash people and shape public opinion, and they are among Kiev’s most important strategies in the conflict with Russia. In combat conditions, these operations are primarily aimed at demoralizing and disorganizing the enemy’s front and rear and inspiring a hopeless, doomed atmosphere. Usually, their main task is to discredit the military and political command and highlight defeat and failure.

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“..the swing state manifesto..”

The Hegemon Will Go Full Hybrid War Against BRICS+ (Pepe Escobar)

U.S. Think Tank Land – inebriated by their self-created aura of power – always telegraphs in advance what they’re up to. That was the case with Project 9/11 (“We need a new Pearl Harbor”). That was the case with the RAND report on over-extending and unbalancing Russia. And now that’s the case with the incoming. It’s always painful to suffer through the intellectually shallow Think Thank Land wet dreams masquerading as “analyses” but in this particular case key Global South players need to be firmly aware of what awaits them. Predictably, the whole “analysis” revolves around the imminent, devastating humiliation to the Hegemon and its vassals: what happens next in country 404, also known – for now – as Ukraine. Brazil, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are dismissed as “four major fence-sitters” when it comes to the U.S./NATO proxy war against Russia.


It’s the same old “you’re with us or against us” trope. But then we are presented with the six major Global South culprits: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. In yet another crude, parochial remix of a catch phrase referring to the American elections, these are qualified as the key swing states the Hegemon will need to seduce, cajole, intimidate and threaten to assure its dominance of the “rules-based international order”. Saudi Arabia and South Africa are added to a previous report focused on the “four major fence sitters”. The swing state manifesto notes that all of them are G-20 members and “active in both geopolitics and geoeconomics” (Oh really? Now that’s some breaking news). What it does not say is that three of them are BRICS members (Brazil, India, South Africa) and the other three are serious candidates to join BRICS+: deliberations will be turbo-charged in the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa in August.

So it’s clear what the swing state manifesto is all about: a call to arms for the American war against the BRICS. The swing state manifesto harbors wet dreams of near-shoring and friend-shoring moving away from China. Nonsense: enhanced intra-BRICS+ trade will be the order of the day from now on, especially with the expanded practice of trade in national currencies (see Brazil-China or within ASEAN), the first step towards widespread de-dollarization. The swing states are characterized as “not a new incarnation” of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), or “other groupings dominated by the Global South, such as the G-77 and BRICS.” Talk about exponential nonsense. This is all about BRICS+ – which now has the tools (including the NDB, the BRICS bank) to do what NAM could never accomplish during the Cold War: establish the framework of a new system bypassing Bretton Woods and the interlocking coercion mechanisms of the Hegemon.


As for stating that BRICS has not “packed much punch” that only reveals U.S. Think Tank Land’s cosmic ignorance of what BRICS + is all about. The position of India is only considered in terms of being a Quad member – defined as a “U.S.-led effort to balance China”. Correction: contain China. As for the “choice” of swing states of choosing between the U.S. and China on semiconductors, AI, quantum technology, 5G and biotechnology, that’s not about “choice”, but to what level they are able to sustain Hegemon pressure to demonize Chinese technology.

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“My goodness, shouldn’t we be talking about how to avoid war with China, not making it inevitable?”

Rand Paul: My Colleagues Are ‘Beating The Drums’ For ‘War With China’ (RS)

Senator Rand Paul acknowledged Thursday that his fellow Republicans are obsessed with China — war with China, that is. The Kentucky Republican told an audience at the American Conservative’s annual foreign policy conference that he is concerned that hawks on Capitol Hill are going to march the country right into a conflict. “You come to my Republican caucus and you’ll hear the beating of drums. These are drums for war with whomever, but primarily war with China. Everything is about war with China.” Not everyone is high on the idea of conflict, he added. “I was in Hawaii recently, talking with some folks from our military out there in the Pacific. One of the higher ranking members came up to me and said, ‘take this message back to your fellow Senators: war with China is not inevitable.’”

“My goodness, shouldn’t we be talking about how to avoid war with China, not making it inevitable?” “We have had an uneasy peace with China, we’ve have an uneasy relationship between China, the U.S. and Taiwan,” Sen. Paul noted, but in the Committee on Foreign Relations, where he holds a seat, “there’s a new bill out each week on Taiwan, which usually includes harsh language on China, on how we’re going to war-plan, and what we’re going to do when China does this or that.” Paul added: “My point is that the less ambiguous you make your policy, the more you rant and rave, the more you make your policy more explicit for war,” the more dangerous and less leverage the U.S. has in the situation. “Strategic ambiguity has kept the peace for 50 years,” Paul charged.

The senator reinforced the importance of seeing foreign policy through the lens constitutional conservatism, something that his colleague Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) espoused in his own remarks at the conference. Paul said he would continue to push for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force), and is poised to criticize any use of a future Ukraine aid bill or emergency spending to pad the Pentagon budget. He also doubted that there has been enough effort to end the war in Ukraine (he had signed a letter to President Biden earlier this year opposing new Ukraine aid without a strategy for peace). “That country is being destroyed. Give it another year and it will be more destroyed. There ultimately must be a peace. If you think wars are going to end by the good defeating evil you are not being realistic. You need a negotiated peace.”

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Pakistan is a nuclear power. These are dangerous games.

Imran Khan Claims US Plotted Against Him After Russia Deal (RT)

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, who was arrested last month on corruption charges, has claimed in a wide-ranging interview with Newsweek published on Saturday that the United States exerted diplomatic pressure to remove him from office last year. Speaking to the US publication, Khan said he visited Russia on the same day that Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 – and that while he didn’t agree with the motives behind the offensive, he refused calls to condemn the action, so as to not jeopardize a trade agreement. The US “wanted us, through the United Nations, to condemn Russia,” said Khan, who explained that his government had arranged an agreement to import “cheap oil”and wheat from Moscow. “If we condemn them right now, what about the impact it’s going to have on our population?”

Khan added that, after a meeting in early March of 2022 between Pakistani and US diplomats, he was informed that unless he was removed as prime minister, there would be “consequences.” “Next day, there’s the no-confidence motion tables in the National Assembly,” Khan said. “And before that, we see that the American Embassy is meeting our parliamentarians, our backbenchers.” He added that he was “puzzled” as to why the US would “object to a deal.” The US has said there is “no truth” to Khan’s repeated claims of a Washington-backed conspiracy against him. Khan has been accused of an array of charges, ranging from corruption to sedition, since he was ousted from power last April after losing a no-confidence vote. He denies all accusations of wrongdoing.

Khan, a former cricket star, has accused what he referred to as Pakistan’s “undemocratic” military chief as being behind his May arrest, which sparked a wave of protests among his supporters. He is accused by the authorities of exchanging political favors for cash while in office. Charges against Khan have inflamed what was already a precarious political balancing act in Islamabad, as the country of 231 million people grapples with soaring food prices, an extended economic crisis, and extremist violence. Discussions with the IMF over an economic bailout have also stagnated amid the political rancor. Earlier this week, Khan was named by Pakistani police in connection to a case against unidentified gunmen following the murder of a lawyer who was investigating sedition charges against the former premier.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1667889468672466944

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Wonder what Burisma is doing these days.

One Document Americans Should ‘Demand’ That Will Topple Biden (CB)

A former chief prosecutor from Ukraine identified a document he said Americans should “demand” that allegedly proves beyond any doubt that President Joe Biden is corrupt. The prosecutor, Victor Shokin, was targeted for dismissal by Biden when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president and was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine at the time. On Friday, Chanel Rion, a White House correspondent for One America News, re-posted a 2019 interview she had with Shokin where he explained the allegation. At the time, the Democrat-controlled House was preparing to impeach then-President Donald Trump for the first time, alleging he engaged in a “quid pro quo” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democrats charged that Trump threatened to withhold military aid unless Zelensky assisted in an investigation into alleged corrupt actions by Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, the latter of whom was serving a profitable stint on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that Shokin had once been investigating. The Senate found Trump innocent of the allegation. Biden, meanwhile, was seen in a video clip that surfaced explaining that he, as VP, actually threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid from then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko unless he fired then-Prosecutor General Shokin. Poroshenko did just that.

In his subsequent interview with OAN, Shokin told Rion that the transcript of a phone call between Biden and Poroshenko would allegedly prove he was using a quid pro quo bribe to force the Ukrainians to halt a corruption investigation into a company his son was serving on as a board member for a reported $50,000 a month. “The transcripts of Biden’s telephone conversations with Poroshenko is where the truth will show itself. Americans must demand it. And if they do, they will see, broad as day, Joe Biden was illegally influencing foreign officials in order to protect his son Hunter and shield illegal money laundering activities,” Shokin told Rion. In a tweet containing a video clip of her interview, Rion added: “Just 1 yr after this interview in Kiev, I found the recordings and reported on it. Shokin confirmed their authenticity.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) noted that there are two additional FBI forms containing damning information about Biden besides the one that the House Oversight Committee has under subpoena. Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has said that the FD-1023 document, created by the FBI based on a “highly credible” source, indicates Biden’s involvement in a pay-to-play scheme during his tenure as vice president. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller, Greene disclosed the contents of the document that she read at a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF). She mentioned that she and fellow members were prohibited from making copies or taking notes, but she disregarded these restrictions and managed to take “very detailed notes” anyway.

Greene told the Caller that information in the subpoenaed document “implicates Joe Biden in a pay-to-play scheme bribery scheme to get a prosecutor fired that was investigating Burisma where Hunter Biden sat on the board.” In addition, she said the FBI informant is “extremely credible” and added that the document “implicates our national security” because it puts Americans “at risk” regarding the war in Ukraine. “This is an impeachable document. President Biden should be impeached. Secondly, he should be prosecuted. This is unbelievable. It’s a pay-to-play scheme. He took a bribe from a foreign national in a foreign country that paid millions of dollars,” Greene told the outlet. “He needs to be prosecuted for this, and I would argue that he should serve jail time.”

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“Back down from what Adam? Name one Republican that won’t vote to censure you? America and I are wondering,” she wrote, adding: “It’s not up to you.”

Schiff Complains About $16 Million Fine Over Trump-Russia Collusion Claim (CB)

Former House Intelligence Committee chairman and current U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Adam Schiff was blasted by Republicans after he complained on Friday about potentially being fined $16 million for falsely claiming for years to have evidence that then-President Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to win the 2016 election. Last week, Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna discussed the House Oversight Committee’s ongoing efforts to hold former Schiff accountable during an interview with Fox News. “I will speak to Adam Schiff. Maria, I have a privileged resolution that I’m bringing to the floor, and we are going to fine that man 16 million dollars for using his position to lie to the American people and ultimately push something that not only destroyed our country but ripped us apart and I believe, maybe even permanently damaging foreign relations. He is a criminal, and Adam Schiff, you will be held accountable,” Paulina Luna said.

“And yet, he was privileged to information that not even I or many of my colleagues would be able to see,” Paulina Luna went on to say. “He used that position. He absolutely aided and abetted a corrupt FBI into investigating a sitting president.” That led Schiff to respond on Twitter: “Last week a GOP Representative filed a motion to expel me from the U.S. House of Representatives. Just now that same representative filed a motion to censure and fine me—to the tune of $16 million. They aren’t getting the message: It will not work. I will not back down.” His response, in turn, drew one from Luna, who roasted him for it. “Back down from what Adam? Name one Republican that won’t vote to censure you? America and I are wondering,” she wrote, adding: “It’s not up to you.”

Luna introduced her resolution in May to fine Schiff for making claims that she says triggered several pointless and unnecessary — and costly — investigations. “I just filed a privileged resolution, H. Res. 437, to censure, condemn, and fine Rep. Adam Schiff $16 million (1/2 the cost of Russia investigation) for his egregious abuse of trust. I, with my GOP colleagues, look forward to an imminent vote to hold this feckless man accountable,” she wrote on Twitter. Luna also introduced a measure to expel Schiff from the House of Representatives after Special Counsel John Durham’s report revealed he repeatedly lied about “collusion” between former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

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“You have to make the American labor force the poorest labor force in the West..”

De-Dollarization is Remedy Against US Militarism (Michael Hudson)

Creating an alternative to the US dollar is the only way to prevent the world from the Washington-led militarization, Prof. Michael Hudson, a US economist and former Wall Street analyst, told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. The de-dollarization trend is gaining momentum, with American scholars warning that there is seemingly no way back. Washington’s decision to freeze Russia’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves over Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine has seemingly became the last straw for the countries of the Global South, which have increasingly started to look for an alternative to the US dollar. “For the last year and a half, America has said, ‘if other countries hold their dollars and European banks or American banks and they do something that we don’t like, we have a right to grab all of their dollars and simply take them’,” Prof. Michael Hudson told Sputnik.

“For instance, Venezuela wanted to have a socialist government. So America told England, ‘Take all of Venezuela’s gold and seize it, and we will designate somebody we think should be president of Venezuela, Mr. Grito, or Guaido’. And so Venezuela lost its gold supply. A year ago in February, America simply grabbed all of Russia’s savings in the West. Americans told China, Iran, other countries: ‘If you don’t impose the sanctions against Russia and China, if you don’t commit economic suicide by letting America colonize you financially, we will just grab all of your money. Everything’s fair play. You’re holding dollars. We get to grab it’.” So, the US showed everyone in the world that the dollar is no longer safe, that the greenback is now a political currency, the professor continued. But that’s half the story, according to him. One might ask: how are these dollars being pumped into the world economy?

“Ever since the Korean War, the major factor in the American balance of payments deficit that sent dollars abroad has been military spending,” Hudson said. “So, when other countries keep their foreign exchange reserves in dollars – Europe, Russia, China – they hold these dollars safely in Treasury securities. Buying the Treasury Security has been the way of funding America’s 800 military bases surrounding them. So, foreign countries have paid for America to surround them with military bases and to fund America’s military, because the dollars that are in the world are the monetization of American military spending. That’s what my book ‘Super Imperialism’ was all about. This was a very conscious policy by the United States, by the Defense Department.”

[..] the New Development Bank (NDB), an international financial organization established by BRICS in 2014, could become a sort of clearing center that would simplify the issue of payments for mutual deliveries of goods, the minister explained. BRICS nations have also proposed that the new common currency might be secured not just by gold, but also by other groups of products, such as rare-earth elements. “When it is finished being discussed, people will not have to deal with dollars at all anymore,” Hudson assumed. “And in fact, of their trade with the United States, they can say, well, if you want to buy something from China, you pay in our currency. We’re not going to cut back our spending on the United States.

And all of a sudden, if the United States is unable to have other people keep their savings in dollars, meaning buying Treasury securities, then how are they going to pay the international balance of payments cost of their military spending? They won’t be able to spend it militarily abroad.” “The only way they can do it is drastically cut back imports in America. And to do that, you have to cut wage rates by 20%. You have to make the American labor force the poorest labor force in the West so that all of the balance of payments, money that’s spent, is not on buying goods and services to consume, but only for military spending.

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Civil servants that smell power. “..voluntary code of practice against disinformation.”

Europe’s Digital Services Act Puts Free Speech at the Mercy of Eurocrats (BI)

The European Union’s Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, was apparently miffed that Elon Musk withdrew Twitter from the EU’s “voluntary code of practice against disinformation.” He was sufficiently put out by Twitter’s withdrawal from the “voluntary code” that he felt the need to publicly reprimand Twitter for not gratefully submitting to the European Union’s expert guidance: “You can run but you can’t hide…Beyond voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be legal obligation under Digital Services Act as of August 25th.” The declared aim of the new Digital Service Act is “to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market for intermediary services by setting out harmonised rules for a safe, predictable and trusted online environment that facilitates innovation and in which fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter, including the principle of consumer protection, are effectively protected.”

Who can argue against a “safe, predictable and trusted online environment?” Who would argue against “consumer protection?” And who would argue against Mr Breton’s commitment to the fight against “disinformation?” I certainly would, because when a person or institution in a position of great power endorses values like “predictability,” rails against “disinformation,” and promises to keep us all “safe” on the internet, you can be sure that it will be “safety,” “predictability,” and “disinformation,” as viewed from their self-serving ideological and political perspective. I am just as worried as Mr Breton about “disinformation,” but my chief concern is with disinformation coming from official sources, which can do an extraordinary amount of harm due to the extraordinary reach and prestige of official organisations.

It is these same organisations that Mr Breton would like to put in charge of policing “disinformation:” organisations like national governments, that have been among the most frequent perpetrators of false and misleading information, on matters of no small moment, from the efficacy and safety of Covid vaccines, masks and lockdowns to the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the true standing of climate “science,” and the potential harms to the economy and food supply chain of aggressive climate interventions such as the expropriation of farmland. The Digital Services Act is an endless maze of complicated regulations worthy of a team of lawyers. Seeing as I don’t have a budget to hire a team of lawyers, I decided to skim through the Act for myself.

It does not make for pleasant bedtime reading, not only because it is a morass of complicated legalese, but also, because what hides behind this legalese is an attempt by EU politicians to get social media platforms under their thumb, through • the obligation on the part of social media companies to periodically submit content moderation and “risk mitigation” reports to EU bureacrats • EU supervision of social media platforms’ policing of “harmful” information, which could potentially include health misinformation as well as “illegal hate speech” • the creation of new emergency powers in the European Commission to “require” social media platforms to take actions to “prevent, eliminate or limit” any use of their services that might “contribute” to a “threat” to public security or public health …and all backed up by crippling fines of up to 6 percent of a company’s worldwide turnover for non-compliance. Yes, you heard that right: up to six percent of a company’s worldwide turnover.

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‘The 9 Rules For All Roadrunner And Wile E. Coyote Interactions’ – a fascinating & fantastic guide by animation director and creator Chuck Jones for all the animators working on the Cartoon.

 

 

Great white

 

 


The takin is a large and now rare species of ungulate of the subfamily Caprinae found in the eastern Himalayas. Largely due to overhunting and the destruction of their natural habitat, takin are considered Endangered in China and Vulnerable per the IUCN https://buff.ly/2LTaRNS

 

 

Ants

 

 


Still one of the best results of bus advertising: a giant constrictor snake squeezing Copenhagen citybus as part of a campaign for the city zoo

 

 

Transfo
https://twitter.com/i/status/1667925448511160321

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 182023
 
 May 18, 2023  Posted by at 8:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Giorgio de Chirico The Archaeologists 1927

 

Durham Found Zero Merit to Trump Russia Claims (CTH)
Durham Report Condemns FBI’s Russia Probe (Turley)
Oversight Panel Has Subpoenaed Joe Biden Phone Records (BB)
The Real Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Scully)
Neighbor Countries Ready To Pay Zelensky To Stop Conflict – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Ukrainian Spymaster Wants 100-km Demilitarized Zone With Russia (TASS)
Sowing Seeds of Plunder: A Lose-Lose Situation in Ukraine (OffG)
Russia Confirms Grain Deal Extension By Two Months – Zakharova (TASS)
NATO’s ‘Reckless’ Expansion To Undermine Security Dialogue – Lavrov (TASS)
China Notifies Embassies In Beijing Not To Display Ukraine Propaganda (TASS)
Hungary Urges EU To Redirect Ukraine Aide (RT)
The Working-Class Revolt Against Net Zero (Spiked)
Dutch Farmer ‘Families Are Crying At The Kitchen Table Every Day’ (RMX)
The Harm Caused by Masks (Anderson)
Global Impact Of The First Year Of Covid-19 Vaccination (Lancet)
Dollar Dominance ‘Coming To An End’ – Jim Rogers (RT)
FBI Adds Itself To FBI Watch List (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Fitton

 

 

 

 

Gaetz

 

 

 

 

Patriots
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658919182661042176

 

 

 

 

American lieutenant colonel broke Zelensky’s dream: Forget about returning the territories, you are incapable. Ukrainian forces are unable to dislodge Russian troops from their positions, despite the bold statements of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, US Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis said.

Answering the question of whether it is possible to realize Zelensky’s dream of returning to Kyiv the territories liberated by Russia, Davis replied that there is not even a theoretical possibility for that. “Simply, there is no fundamental basis to create such a large combat power and to dislodge an enemy as entrenched and equipped as Russia is now. It is a completely unrealistic combat goal,” Davis said in an interview with the YouTube channel “Judging Freedom”.

 

 

 

 

“Mueller’s probe existed in material fact to hide the Obama weaponization to target Donald Trump. Durham knew this; that’s why he never touched it.”

Durham Found Zero Merit to Trump Russia Claims (CTH)

People ask why I find it difficult to write about the Durham report empirically confirming everything we previously outlined in the past five years. Here’s my answer. Eventually, after the shock & awe of the Durham confirmations wear off, I am hopeful that people will stand back and realize the bigger question that covers all of the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy nonsense. This was a United States government operation to conduct full-throated surveillance on a U.S. presidential candidate, and then remove that candidate from the office of the presidency after his victory in the 2016 election. With John Durham outlining in granular details how the FBI, DOJ and larger intelligence apparatus acted politically to weaponize government on behalf of an allied presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, a bigger question remains.

There never was any merit to the Trump-Russia nonsense, so what exactly were Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann doing for two years? Using the silo defense as a method of obfuscation, John Durham noted in his report [page #2] as below, never delved into that obvious question. Durham specifically, and with great intent, says he did not look at what Mueller and Weissmann were doing; even though, Durham destroyed any predication that might have given merit to the intention of their special counsel existence. Durham writes a 316-page report, meticulously detailing the false construct of the Trump-Russia narrative. Yet for some reason, the Mueller/Weissmann investigation, an entire special counsel investigation that was predicated and justified by that false Trump-Russia narrative, never found the same evidence?

Durham never looked at it. Why? Because he knew Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann were installed to cover up the original fabrications by the CIA, FBI, DOJ and U.S. intelligence apparatus. Mueller’s probe existed in material fact to hide the Obama weaponization to target Donald Trump. Durham knew this; that’s why he never touched it. Stop pretending. Once you stop pretending, you realize just how rotten this system is. John Durham intentionally and with specific foresight, did not want to reveal the criminal conduct of the Mueller/Weissmann special counsel. He knew exactly what they were doing; his investigation paralleled what their investigation would have done if Mueller was not established to hide the originating schemes.

Everything Durham found, Mueller could have easily found, and stated, and ended the nonsense. This reality, and Durham’s intentional decision to avoid confronting the Mueller fraud, is why no one should defend any part of what John Durham was doing, nor the report he delivers in conclusion. Durham is just as dirty as Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann. If he wasn’t, he would have outlined the purpose of Mueller and left them naked to the consequences. But that’s not what a good little silo maintainer does. Instead, John Durham simply acts as if Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann didn’t exist to try and destroy President Trump. Durham ignores the cleanup operation entirely.

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“In the end, it is not a crime to be unethical or incompetent, so no charges will be filed as a result of the report.”

Durham Report Condemns FBI’s Russia Probe (Turley)

According to Durham, Comey — who later wrote and sold a book on “ethical leadership” — led the FBI to use “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence” to effectively tie up a duly elected president for three years. Durham reports that FBI personnel admitted they disregarded standards for surveillance despite “acknowledging — both then and in hindsight — that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly [working for a foreign power].” In the end, it is not a crime to be unethical or incompetent, so no charges will be filed as a result of the report. Durham clearly hopes that the belated transparency provided by his report will produce greater future accountability. That may be the only naive aspect of his findings.

Of course, the FBI promptly issued a statement that it has — once more — reformed itself in light of its failures. But who really believes this is unlikely to occur again? Indeed, the same pattern and figures reemerged in 2020, when another false narrative was created to dismiss the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Some of the officials involved in the false Russia collusion conspiracy were signatories on the letter by 51 former intelligence officials claiming that the laptop story was likely “Russian disinformation.” And the media again pushed that version before the 2020 election — only to admit, two years later, that the laptop was authentic all along. Conspicuously missing in the aftermath of Durham’s report is the one thing that would establish a clear commitment to reform: an apology. Clinton, Comey, members of Congress and others could apologize to the American people — and, yes, even to Trump.

That, of course, will never happen. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in releasing a report that concluded this investigation never should have occurred, made no statement whatsoever. Thus, Durham was left throwing haymakers in an empty political boxing ring — and those who perpetrated this scandal on the nation are left to carry on making money on books, speeches, TV commentary and lectures about political or electoral ethics. The media, meanwhile, is offering little more than a shoulder-shrug and more spin. So, in the relative silence of media coverage following the report’s release, Durham can contemplate an ultimate Zen-like question: If a 305-page report proves a concerted political hoax but no one is there to read it, does it make a difference?

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“Over an 11-year period, Hunter’s firm paid over $25k for Joe’s second iPhone (1-302-377-xxxx), which circumvented White House security protocols, along with ‘most lines’ on a ‘Wells Fargo credit line’ that Joe utilized. These phone, banking, and other financial records must be subpoenaed.”

Oversight Panel Has Subpoenaed Joe Biden Phone Records (BB)

The House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed phone records of a phone belonging to President Joe Biden that Hunter Biden’s business paid for, according to Peter Schweizer, Government Accountability Institute president in an interview on Tuesday. Schweizer said in an interview with 77 WABC’s Cats & Cosby that it was discovered on Hunter Biden’s laptop that he was paying a phone bill for his father from 2009 to 2017, which encompassed the time Biden was vice president. “We obtained that phone number and we’ve shared it with individuals and the Oversight Committee in Congress is going to subpoena those phone records. And what’s important here is that’s not a government phone, this is not Joe Biden’s private phone that he’s paying for himself. It’s actually [Hunter] Biden’s business that paid for it,” Schweizer said.


“I think it’s going to yield a lot of interesting information as to who Joe Biden was talking to on this phone that was being paid for by his son,” said Schweizer, who is a senior contributor to Breitbart News and best-selling author of multiple books on corruption by political elites. Schweizer called the reported removal of the investigative team at the IRS looking into Hunter Biden’s alleged tax evasion “very troubling.” The removal came in alleged retaliation to a whistleblower who had contacted Congress about a possible cover-up going on at the IRS on the case. “It’s very troubling — the pattern that we’re seeing here,” Schweizer said, adding:

“You have these whistleblower complaints filed by people in the IRS that were looking at Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes. They issued whistleblower complaint to Congress — the report is that those individuals had been removed from the case, which is contrary to the Whistleblower Law — you’re not allowed to remove somebody from their position just because they filed a whistleblower complaint.” Schweizer said the removal of the investigative team is potentially illegal. He explained: “What happened in 2018 was the IRS looked into the fact that Hunter Biden had taken in all this foreign income, we exposed it in Secret Empires in 2018. That sort of launched the grand jury and you had this IRS investigation. And they basically concluded that Hunter Biden had taken in millions of dollars from foreign sources, had not paid taxes on it.


You have this friend, this lawyer in Los Angeles that paid two million to the IRS to pay some of the back taxes, but the IRS was looking into charges of tax evasion. They went to congressional committees and complained that they believe there had been political interference from DOJ. I haven’t seen the details, but this was the claim. And now lo and behold, the IRS says we’re going to remove the team from investigating Hunter Biden, who had been on it now for what, five years, and we’re going to start apparently gonna have to start the whole thing over, so what does that mean to the investigation? What does that mean? I think it’s massive, but first of all…I think it’s illegal by the whistleblower statute. You cannot remove somebody from their position, simply because they made a whistleblower complaint.”

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“Having thus alerted readers that the new candidate with the familiar name is basically a head case, the Post and Times can now put that name back on the blacklist..”

The Real Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Scully)

While Republican affairs can certainly get rough and unseemly at times, it’s usually the Democratic Party we can turn to for lessons in cold, unsentimental power politics. Consider, for instance, the reception accorded by the party establishment and like-minded reporters to an unexpected entrant into the 2024 presidential race, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a man who rates, one might have supposed, the respect due a worthy contender and honest dissenter. After declaring his candidacy last month, RFK Jr. immediately showed at 14 percent in polls. Mild alarm followed, among supporters of President Biden, when two weeks later the next round of polling gave Kennedy an average of 20 percent. You could tell this was a bit of a shock because, almost instantly, the Washington Post dismissed it as nothing, in a hurried item headlined “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Threat to Biden Is Inflated. Here’s Why.”

As surely as any Kennedy could once expect to be fawned over by Post reporters, this Kennedy — especially if he starts drawing crowds and votes — is never to be spared condescension and rebuke. The “why,” in case you haven’t heard, is that RFK Jr. has in recent years been airing “controversial,” “dangerous” views, and this makes him, says the Post, a “fringe figure” you needn’t take seriously. Among his many provocations: Kennedy claims that pandemic lockdowns were calamitous for working people and for children; that citizens should choose for themselves whether to receive vaccines; that corporate influences on government are pervasive and corrupting; and that censorship contrived by the state is intolerable. Worse even than these outrages, during the pandemic this man called into question the conduct and veracity of Anthony Fauci. And this offense — challenging Doctor Fauci! — is still regarded as the most shameful assault on science since the persecution of Galileo.

It doesn’t matter that, point for point, RFK Jr. makes a strong case and most everyone knows it. His problem is, the prohibition on saying such things has not been lifted. A well-established, scientifically tested, and empirically proven phenomenon known as liberal groupthink has set in, preempting even the most obvious conclusions. So, even if Kennedy’s presidential bid is off to an impressive start, in the Post’s analysis he is still relegated to the same category as “fringe figure Lyndon LaRouche,” who — trivia time for Post readers — “in 1996 managed to pull double digits in some primary states.”

The New York Times, in its version of the LaRouche treatment, likewise left the impression of a candidate’s announcement speech strangely and single-mindedly focused on “shaking Americans’ faith in science,” no matter that the candidate himself had said nothing at all along those lines, and no matter that in all of his scientific arguments he cites scientific methods and scientific evidence. Here again the day’s news was predetermined: casting the accomplished son and namesake of Senator Robert F. Kennedy as just another sorry entry in “a history of fringe presidential aspirants from both parties who run to bring attention to a cause, or to themselves.” Having thus alerted readers that the new candidate with the familiar name is basically a head case, the Post and Times can now put that name back on the blacklist, denying Kennedy coverage unless he troubles them further by rising in polls or by making crazy demands for primary debates.

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“Hungary is a big player in this and so are Poland and Germany, and they are working to get Zelensky to come around..”

Neighbor Countries Ready To Pay Zelensky To Stop Conflict – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Poland is leading a group of European nations that are secretly urging Vladimir Zelensky to find a way to settle the conflict with Russia, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh has reported, citing a “knowledgeable” American official. According to US intelligence, other EU countries that want to see an end to the fighting include Hungary, Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Hersh wrote in an article published on his Substack page on Wednesday. “Hungary is a big player in this and so are Poland and Germany, and they are working to get Zelensky to come around,” the unnamed official claimed. Those countries have made it clear that “Zelensky can keep what he’s got if he works up a peace deal even if he’s got to be paid off, if it’s the only way to get a deal.” By “keep what he’s got,” the source was referring to the Ukrainian president’s villa in Italy and interests in an offshore bank, Hersh clarified.

However, Zelensky has so far rejected the proposal, while other major European players – France and the UK – “are too beholden” to the Biden administration, which is continuing to back the Ukrainian leader, the official said. One of the main reasons why Poland and the others want the conflict to end is because the burden of accommodating Ukrainian refugees has become too much for them, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote. The problem for those countries “is how to get the US to stop supporting Zelensky,” Hersh’s source suggested. He claimed that US intelligence is well aware that “Ukraine is running out of money and… that the next four or months are critical. And Eastern Europeans are talking about a deal.” However, he added that “it’s not clear to the intelligence community what the president and his foreign policy aides in the White House know of the reality.”

The US is “still training Ukrainians how to fly our F-16s that will be shot down by Russia as soon as they get into the war zone. The mainstream press is dedicated to Biden and the war, and Biden is still talking about the Great Satan in Moscow while the Russian economy is doing great,” the official explained. Russia has repeatedly stated that it’s ready to resolve the conflict at the negotiating table. However, it did not receive any proposals from Ukraine and its Western backers that it could consider reasonable. Zelensky has been promoting his ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russian forces to withdraw to borders claimed by Ukraine, to pay reparations, and to submit to war-crime tribunals. Moscow has rejected the plan as “unacceptable,” saying it ignores the reality on the ground and is actually a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to solve the crisis through diplomatic means.

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Problem is, they want the DMZ and still become a NATO member. Russia will not let that happen.

Ukrainian Spymaster Wants 100-km Demilitarized Zone With Russia (TASS)

Top Ukrainian intelligence official Kirill Budanov has proposed creating a 100-km-long demilitarized zone between Ukraine and Russia. “The question of ending the war [involves] the creation of a demilitarized zone; this is our goal,” the head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate told the Ukrainian Islandia (Iceland) TV channel. When further elaborating on the practical aspects of creating such a zone, Budanov said that, “this would be a zone that could not be attacked by the usual means.” “In my view, this would absolutely be the right distance,” the top intelligence official pointed out. The Russian government had earlier repeatedly voiced its readiness to negotiate with Ukraine to reach a settlement of the conflict.


At the same time, however, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that the main obstacle standing in the way of such talks was the prohibition on conducting negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was legally enshrined by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decree of September 30, 2022, “as well as the initiatives of the Ukrainian head of state, which indicate official Kiev’s complete detachment from modern realities,” including the demand to withdraw Russian troops from the new regions of the country. On February 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow did not see any desire on the part of the Ukrainian side to start a serious conversation on a peaceful settlement.

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“Today, thousands of rural boys and girls, farmers, are fighting and dying in the war. They have lost everything. The processes of free land sale and purchase are increasingly liberalised and advertised. This really threatens the rights of Ukrainians to their land, for which they give their lives.”

Sowing Seeds of Plunder: A Lose-Lose Situation in Ukraine (OffG)

It’s a lose-lose situation for Ukrainians. While they are dying, financial institutions are insidiously supporting the consolidation of farmland by oligarchs and Western financial interests. So says Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute, an independent think tank. Depending on which sources to believe, between 100,000 and 300,000 Ukrainian soldiers (possibly more) have died during the conflict with Russia. That figure, of course, does not include civilian casualties. But it is not the purpose of this article to explore these issues. Much has already been written on this elsewhere. But billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware has been sent to Ukraine by the NATO countries and hundreds of thousands of young Ukrainians have died. They died in the belief that they were protecting their nation – their land. A land that is among the most fertile in the world.

Professor Olena Borodina of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine says: “Today, thousands of rural boys and girls, farmers, are fighting and dying in the war. They have lost everything. The processes of free land sale and purchase are increasingly liberalised and advertised. This really threatens the rights of Ukrainians to their land, for which they give their lives.” Borodina is quoted in the February 2023 report by the Oakland Institute War and Theft: The Takeover of Ukraine’s Agricultural Land, which reveals how oligarchs and financial interests are expanding control over Ukraine’s agricultural land with help and financing from Western financial institutions. Aid provided to Ukraine in recent years has been tied to a drastic structural adjustment programme requiring the creation of a land market through a law that leads to greater concentration of land in the hands of powerful interests.

The programme also includes austerity measures, cuts in social safety nets and the privatisation of key sectors of the economy. Frédéric Mousseau, co-author of the report, says: “Despite being at the centre of news cycle and international policy, little attention has gone to the core of the conflict — who controls the agricultural land in the country known as the breadbasket of Europe. [The] Answer to this question is paramount to understanding the major stakes in the war.” The report shows the total amount of land controlled by oligarchs, corrupt individuals and large agribusinesses is over nine million hectares — exceeding 28% of Ukraine’s arable land (the rest is used by over eight million Ukrainian farmers).

The largest landholders are a mix of Ukrainian oligarchs and foreign interests — mostly European and North American as well as the sovereign fund of Saudi Arabia. A number of large US pension funds, foundations and university endowments are also invested in Ukrainian land through NCH Capital – a US-based private equity fund, which is the fifth largest landholder in the country. President Zelenskyy put the land reform into law in 2020 against the will of the vast majority of the population who feared it would exacerbate corruption and reinforce control by powerful interests in the agricultural sector.

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Last time?!

Russia Confirms Grain Deal Extension By Two Months – Zakharova (TASS)

Moscow confirms that the grain deal has been extended for two more months, providing an opportunity to help ensure global food security, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the grain deal had been extended for another 60 days. “We confirm the Turkish president’s announcement of a two-month extension of the Black Sea initiative, which is an opportunity to help ensure global food security not in words but in deeds, to help first and foremost the countries that need it most,” she said, adding that “imbalances” in the grain deal’s execution should be “corrected as soon as possible.” Zakharova went on to say that Moscow’s primary views of the deal have not changed.

Agreements on the export of food and fertilizers from Ukraine to the international market were concluded on July 22, 2022, for 120 days and extended in November for the same period. One of the agreements regulates the order of grain supplies from the Kiev-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. Moreover, a memorandum was inked by Russia and the UN on lifting export restrictions for Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets. Moscow notes that the second part of the agreement is not being implemented. On March 18, 2023, Russia announced that the deal was extended for 60 days, warning that this would be enough time to assess the efficacy of the memorandum signed with the UN.

The Russian side has repeatedly stressed that the future decision on extension of the deal depends on implementation of the Russian part of the agreement, adding that the lack of progress on that issue threatens the future of the initiative. Representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN discussed the issues of extension of the grain deal and the implementation of the Russian part of the agreement on supplies of grain and fertilizers on May 10-11 in Istanbul. The agenda also contained the issues of secure functioning of the grain corridor. Russia was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin. No particular decisions on extension of the deal or consideration of Moscow’s requirements were announced following the negotiations.

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Lavrov: The Minsk agreements were the last attempt at diplomacy

• We will no longer rely on the West as a partner that has at least some capacity for an agreement, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with “Tsargrad” television, saying that Moscow will instead turn its attention to the rest of the world that wants to continue cooperation with her.

• According to his words, “there is no real diplomacy anymore” in the West. As he pointed out, it was last “seen” in 2014 and 2015, when the Minsk agreements were signed, but even then it was not real diplomacy, but, as he assessed, “diplomacy of lies”.

• The diplomacy of Western colleagues is reflected in bribing, threatening and forcing other countries to follow their policies, but all this indicates that the West is actually “not sure of the correctness” of its agenda, because if they are right, why should they threaten and use with harsh tactics, concluded Lavrov.

NATO’s ‘Reckless’ Expansion To Undermine Security Dialogue – Lavrov (TASS)

Reckless NATO expansion and the bloc’s absorption of neutral countries will undermine any prospect for dialogue on European security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference following Moscow talks with his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Aleinik on Wednesday. “NATO’s reckless expansion eastwards, northwards or to other geographical areas undermines the very prospects to continue normal communication on European security,” Lavrov said, adding that “unfortunately, we are witnessing this process amid NATO’s absorption of almost all neutral nations.” “That’s sad,” he added. According to Russia’s top diplomat, the number of countries in Europe who advocate military or political neutrality is getting thinner, now that Finland has joined the alliance.


Sweden “seems to be on course to become a NATO member, too, while Switzerland rejected its neutral status by its actions,” he said. “That [neutrality] was enshrined in the constitutions of respective countries, and they created a space for finding a balance of interests and compromise between European NATO members and, say, the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” he lamented.= “When and if the West comes to its senses and realizes that it will not be able to reverse the historically unbiased process of a multipolar world order evolving, that will, of course, require a conversation that will not be limited to Europe only,” Lavrov maintained as he insisted that global security should be “honest and equal.”.

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“..specifically raising the Ukrainian flag or displaying posters in support of Kiev..”

China Notifies Embassies In Beijing Not To Display Ukraine Propaganda (TASS)

China reminds foreign missions and offices of international organizations based in the country of the need to comply with international diplomatic treaties, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday. Commenting on billboards in support of Ukraine exhibited outside some foreign embassies in Beijing, the Chinese diplomat said, “China is calling on all embassies and representative offices of all international organizations to comply with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and carry out activities in line with international agreements.”


Wang’s comment came in response to a question from a reporter who asked whether the Chinese authorities had earlier advised foreign embassies against using the exterior walls of their buildings to display politicized propaganda, specifically raising the Ukrainian flag or displaying posters in support of Kiev. Wang urged all foreign diplomatic missions and organizations in China to respect Chinese laws. Kyodo reported on Tuesday, citing multiple sources, that Chinese officials have requested foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations in Being not to use the outer walls of their buildings for displaying political propaganda. Some embassies have put up signboards in support of Ukraine, the Japanese news agency said.

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“..the funds should be redirected to other regions, namely to the Balkans or North Africa…”

Hungary Urges EU To Redirect Ukraine Aide (RT)

Budapest has blocked a new €500 million ($544 million) package of EU financial assistance to Kiev, urging Brussels to redirect its support elsewhere. The eighth tranche from the so-called European Peace Facility (EPF) – a €5.6 billion ($6.08 billion) off-budget fund used to finance and supply foreign militaries – was vetoed by Hungary on Monday. Budapest told Reuters that it wanted the EPF to keep its original global scope, instead of being used exclusively to finance Kiev amid its ongoing conflict with Moscow. “Hungary does not agree with the fact that the European Union, along with other existing tools, uses the EPF solely with regard to Ukraine, as this does not allow sufficient funds to be channeled to promote the EU’s interests in other areas,” a government spokesperson wrote in an email to the outlet, adding that the funds should be redirected to other regions, namely to the Balkans or North Africa.

“For the Hungarian government, it is crucial that these issues should be clarified, and that’s why it did not approve the disbursement of the next tranche from the EPF,” the spokesperson concluded. The EPF was originally established in 2021, with a proclaimed goal of boosting the EU’s ability to maintain peace and strengthen regional and international security. The fund is used to reimburse the bloc’s own members, who send arms and equipment overseas, as well as to directly finance foreign militaries.

However, prior to the beginning of the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, the fund was rarely used. A total of less than $125 million was allocated to supply non-lethal military equipment to several nations, including Ukraine. After the hostilities began, however, the EU funneled some €3.6 billion ($3.9 billion) under the EPF scheme to Ukraine in military support. Budapest has found itself at odds with Brussels over the conflict, taking a neutral stance and refusing to supply Kiev with weaponry. Hungary has also prohibited weaponry shipments heading to Ukraine from going through its territory, as well as opposed the bloc’s anti-Russian sanctions.

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“This is a clash between the luxury doom-mongering of an upper-middle class more concerned with its own self-importance than with the self-sufficiency of society..”

The Working-Class Revolt Against Net Zero (Spiked)

Two kinds of road-blocking are taking place in Europe right now. In the first, the sons and daughters of privilege, people with names like Edred and Tilly, are holding up traffic to put pressure on governments to speed up Net Zero. If we don’t cut carbon emissions drastically, they say in their cut-glass tones, our poor planet will be consumed in a heat death of rotten mankind’s own making. In the second, working people – farmers, truckers, cab drivers – are clogging the streets to put pressure on governments to slow down Net Zero. Or better still, scrap it altogether. If we don’t cut out the Net Zero nonsense, say these people who make and deliver things for the Edreds and Tillys of the world, farms will close, jobs will be lost and economic precarity will intensify.

Whose side should you take? It’s a no-brainer. This is a clash between the luxury doom-mongering of an upper-middle class more concerned with its own self-importance than with the self-sufficiency of society, and the common sense of working people who understand that farming, food production, energy creation and transportation are essential to the survival of our species. Between an elite driven mad by visions of a climate-change apocalypse and ordinary people who still inhabit the reality-based world. Between Net Zero fanatics who want to wind back modernity and Net Zero sceptics who think modernity works pretty well, thank you. It’s the latter road-blockers – the people using their HGVs, tractors and taxis to send a stern message to our eco-elites – that we should be cheering. Their revolt against Net Zero represents a daring populist strike against the delusions and complacency of the 21st-century establishment.

Danish truckers are the latest workers to join the rebellion against green authoritarianism. Yesterday, they caused ‘road havoc’ in Denmark. They parked their huge hauliers side by side on key roads. Sections of the border with Germany were affected, as were the M11 and M16 around Copenhagen. Roads towards the ferry docks at Helsingor – ‘one of the most important ports in Denmark’ – were also briefly clogged by angry truckers. Their beef? The government’s plan to introduce a ‘truck tax’ in 2025. As part of its devotion to the cult of Net Zero, the Danish ruling class wants to slash carbon emissions by 70 per cent before 2030. And one way it intends to do that is by imposing a punitive mileage-based eco-tax on the drivers of diesel trucks, in the hope that the financial pressure will become so unbearable that they’ll switch to electric trucks instead.

The ingratitude is staggering. Truckers are the lifeblood of a modern society. They transport the fuel, food and other goods that are essential to everyday life. They drive alone, for hours, in all weathers, to keep society well stocked. And how do the elites in Copenhagen repay these people who, without fuss or fanfare, bring them everything they need? By slapping them with a new kind of sin tax – the sin in this case being to drive a vehicle that the eco-minded consider to be ‘dirty’ and ‘polluting’.

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“..they created huge farms because that was the policy promoted by the government and also by the banks. They wanted the farms to scale up their businesses. And now, suddenly the policy is to make smaller farms. This is also the EU policy. ”

Dutch Farmer ‘Families Are Crying At The Kitchen Table Every Day’ (RMX)

Currently, the Dutch government is looking to offer buyouts for 3,000 farms in the Netherlands, and if they do not accept, their land will be confiscated The government is offering them 120 percent of the value of their land. A) Do you think that’s a fair offer, and B) Do you think they’re going to fight it?

It’s not fair at all because they have smashed these farmers for years now, and the people are so desperate that many families are crying at the kitchen table every day, and even a couple of farmers committed suicide already. Really, it’s that bad. Our government and also the banks supported a plan to create bigger farms, so the farmers bought the land of their neighbors, and they created huge farms because that was the policy promoted by the government and also by the banks. They wanted the farms to scale up their businesses. And now, suddenly the policy is to make smaller farms. This is also the EU policy. Then, you add nitrogen regulations. These farmers now have these huge farms, which means big debts, huge debts, because they had to invest. And now, the government comes up with the idea that they have this nitrogen problem, and farms need to close or be reduced in size.

The banks turn around and say, then your business — because a farm is really a business — is only worth 50 percent compared to yesterday. So these people have huge debts. They are captured in a system that they never asked for. They followed the rules, and now they are pushed in a direction that is really desperate for them. They don’t know what to do. It’s so difficult. These farms have been running from generation to generation. So, there is a lot of history tied up in these farms, and if you are desperate and don’t know what to do anymore, and you’re facing uncertainty year after year, then the government turns around and says, “OK, we have a way out for you, we have money to give you.” I think a lot of farms will do that, which is a disaster because they are the second-largest producer of food in the world after the United States. The Netherlands is just a tiny country, but we are producing so much food for the rest of the world. That’s a problem because we now have 8 billion people.

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“..while eight times the normal level of carbon dioxide is toxic, research suggests that mask-wearers (specifically those who wear masks for more than 5 minutes at a time) are breathing in 35 to 80 times normal levels..”

The Harm Caused by Masks (Anderson)

Mask-wearers breathe in greater amounts of air that should have been expelled from their bodies and released out into the open. “[A] significant rise in carbon dioxide occurring while wearing a mask is scientifically proven in many studies,” write the German authors. “Fresh air has around 0.04% CO2,” they observe, while chronic exposure at CO2 levels of 0.3 percent is “toxic.” How much CO2 do mask-wearers breathe in? The authors write that “masks bear a possible chronic exposure to low level carbon dioxide of 1.41–3.2% CO2 of the inhaled air in reliable human experiments.” In other words, while eight times the normal level of carbon dioxide is toxic, research suggests that mask-wearers (specifically those who wear masks for more than 5 minutes at a time) are breathing in 35 to 80 times normal levels. The German study, a scoping review of existing research, aimed “to investigate the toxicological effects of face masks in terms of CO2 rebreathing on developing life, specifically for pregnant women, children, and adolescents.”

The latter two groups, of course, have been among those most frequently subjected to mask mandates in schools, despite Covid’s low levels of risk for them and the evidence that masks don’t work. What can breathing too much carbon dioxide do to you? The authors write that “at levels between 0.05% and 0.5% CO2,” one might experience an “increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and overall increased circulation with the symptoms of headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, rhinitis, and dry cough.” Rates above 0.5 percent can lead to “reduced cognitive performance, impaired decision-making and reduced speed of cognitive solutions.” Beyond 1 percent, “the harmful effects include respiratory acidosis, metabolic stress, increased blood flow and decreased exercise tolerance.” Again, mask-wearers are likely breathing in CO2 levels between 1.4 percent and 3.2 percent—well above any of these thresholds. What’s more, “Testes metabolism and cell respiration have been shown to be inhibited increasingly by rising levels of CO2.”

So, high blood pressure, reduced thinking ability, respiratory problems, and reproductive concerns are among the many possible results of effectively poisoning oneself by breathing in too much carbon dioxide. The authors write that “it is clear that carbon dioxide rebreathing, especially when using N95 masks, is above the 0.8% CO2 limit set by the US Navy to reduce the risk of stillbirths and birth defects on submarines with female personnel who may be pregnant.” In other words, mandates have forced pregnant women to wear masks resulting in levels of CO2 inhalation that would be prohibited if they were serving on a Navy submarine.

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The original Lancet article is from Sep. 2022. I don’t usually include “old” things; this is a news aggregator. But the “new” comment on the article warrants interest.

@A1an_M: “I thought of another, simpler way of demonstrating that this Lancet paper claiming the vaccines saved 19.8 million lives is complete and utter bollards, using empirical data. OurWorldInData helpfully tells us how many people had actually been vaccinated at the end of December 2021: 4.55 billion As per my earlier tweet, we know that at worst in early 2020, pre vaccines, the Infection Fatality Rate of SARS-COV-2 averaged 0.25% across the world (Ioannidis). https://medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.13.20101253v3 (By December 2021 it was less than half of that but we’ll let that slide for now) So assuming the vaccinated population was typical of the population as a whole, we can say that only 0.25% of those 4.55 billion vaccinated people were at risk of death from COVID. 0.25% of 4.55 billion is 11.4 million people.

So it is impossible for the vaccines to have saved 19.8 million lives. Fallen at the very first hurdle, the Lancet paper has. How embarrassing. I could go on and talk about how, out of those 11.4 million vaccinated people who were at risk of death, based on the mortality seen in England and Wales in 2020, more than 60% were over 80 and more than 90% had more than one other comorbidity making the chances of the majority of them surviving for a year even in the absence of a vaccine rather slim… or that the vaccines don’t prevent infection, transmission, hospitalisation or death from COVID and therefore it’s quite possible they didn’t save a single life, never mind 11.4 million .. but at this stage the Lancet model is flat on the floor begging for mercy so I will stop here.”

Global Impact Of The First Year Of Covid-19 Vaccination (Lancet)

The first COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial setting was administered on Dec 8, 2020. To ensure global vaccine equity, vaccine targets were set by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility and WHO. However, due to vaccine shortfalls, these targets were not achieved by the end of 2021. We aimed to quantify the global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination programmes. A mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission and vaccination was separately fit to reported COVID-19 mortality and all-cause excess mortality in 185 countries and territories. The impact of COVID-19 vaccination programmes was determined by estimating the additional lives lost if no vaccines had been distributed. We also estimated the additional deaths that would have been averted had the vaccination coverage targets of 20% set by COVAX and 40% set by WHO been achieved by the end of 2021.


Based on official reported COVID-19 deaths, we estimated that vaccinations prevented 14·4 million (95% credible interval [Crl] 13·7–15·9) deaths from COVID-19 in 185 countries and territories between Dec 8, 2020, and Dec 8, 2021. This estimate rose to 19·8 million (95% Crl 19·1–20·4) deaths from COVID-19 averted when we used excess deaths as an estimate of the true extent of the pandemic, representing a global reduction of 63% in total deaths (19·8 million of 31·4 million) during the first year of COVID-19 vaccination. In COVAX Advance Market Commitment countries, we estimated that 41% of excess mortality (7·4 million [95% Crl 6·8–7·7] of 17·9 million deaths) was averted. In low-income countries, we estimated that an additional 45% (95% CrI 42–49) of deaths could have been averted had the 20% vaccination coverage target set by COVAX been met by each country, and that an additional 111% (105–118) of deaths could have been averted had the 40% target set by WHO been met by each country by the end of 2021.

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“No currency has been on top more than 150 years. Nobody has always been on top, so it’s always happened.”

Dollar Dominance ‘Coming To An End’ – Jim Rogers (RT)

The US dollar is starting to lose its leading position across the globe, as Washington has become the world’s largest debtor, famed investor Jim Rogers told Sputnik news agency on Wednesday. The co-founder of the Quantum Fund noted that more and more countries are growing hesitant about the greenback, as deep reliance on its use can lead to various problems. “Many friends of America are moving, trying to find something to compete with and ultimately replace the US dollar,” Rogers said in an interview with the Russian outlet. According to the investor, an international currency should have an absolutely neutral status, and the lack of neutrality demonstrated by the White House, along with growing concerns over US creditworthiness, have deprived the greenback of that quality.

“Many people are starting to say: wait a minute, I don’t know if we want to use that money, because it will have a problem someday,” he said. “But also, the world’s international currency is supposed to be completely neutral. Anybody can use it for anything you want. But now Washington is changing the rules. And if they get angry at you, they cut you off.” Rogers explained that a growing number of countries are now seeking an alternative to the greenback, adding that the Chinese yuan could replace the US currency as the most common means for conducting international settlements.

Russia has been boosting economic ties with China over the past few years, adopting the yuan in international trade. In early April, the Chinese currency replaced the dollar as the most-traded foreign currency in Russia. Moreover, the yuan continues to penetrate a number of other markets around the world. “It will happen. It has always happened. And America’s time is coming to an end. The American dollar this time is coming to an end,” Rogers concluded. “No currency has been on top more than 150 years. Nobody has always been on top, so it’s always happened.”

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“Without the FBI at our disposal, we may have to turn to traditional partners such as the mafia to fight our political enemies..”

FBI Adds Itself To FBI Watch List (BBee)

In an unprecedented move to protect the safety and security of millions of Americans, the FBI has added itself to the FBI watchlist. “When we reflected on the vast number of pedophiles, insurrectionists, frauds, and killers in our organization, we thought: ‘Holy cow! Someone needs to keep an eye on these weirdos!'” said FBI Director Christopher Wray to reporters. “That’s why today we have decided to place the FBI on the FBI watchlist so the FBI can keep a close eye on the FBI before the FBI does something terrible.” Congress is demanding oversight of the FBI’s monitoring of the FBI, as the FBI has been known in the past to let the FBI get away with horrific crimes.


The FBI in turn is monitoring the Congressional oversight committee in charge of overseeing the FBI’s oversight of the FBI. “Americans shouldn’t worry, we have this all under control,” said Wray. Critics of the move expressed concern this may hamper the FBI’s ability to organize governor kidnapping schemes, insurrections, and mass shootings. “Without the FBI at our disposal, we may have to turn to traditional partners such as the mafia to fight our political enemies,” said one anonymous Washington bureaucrat. “What’s the world coming to?” At publishing time, the FBI announced they now have the FBI in custody. Unfortunately, they released the FBI from custody a few minutes later.

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Soros


Just in from NOAA: April 2023 cooler in the US than April 1895, despite a 1000% increase in industrial era atmospheric CO2.

 

 


Just in from NOAA: No warming in the US since January 2005, despite 44% more atmospheric CO2.

 

 

Oyster swims

 

 

Jellyfish

 

 

NASA

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 142023
 
 April 14, 2023  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  40 Responses »


Jean-Michel Basquiat Warrior 1982

 

US Fanning Ukraine Crisis, Exacerbating Ukrainians’ Suffering – Xinhua (TASS)
CIA Director Concedes US Power Is Waning (RT)
World Faces ‘Most Dangerous Period Of Time In History’ – Trump (RT)
Bolton Touts ‘Grand Strategy’ To Counter Russia and China (RT)
US Military Would Need Conscription to Fight China (ET)
Stalemate Will Force Ukraine To Enact ‘Full Mobilization’ – Media (RT)
Seymour Hersh: The CIA Knows Ukrainian Officials Are Skimming US Aid (Antiwar)
Moscow Urges Washington To Issue Visas To Russian Delegation To UN Events (TASS)
Brazil Rebels Against US Dollar ‘Straitjacket’ (RT)
Frozen Assets To Be Returned To Russia After End Of Conflict (TASS)
UN Seeking To Reconnect Some Russian Banks To SWIFT (RT)
Trump Testifies In New York Business Fraud Case (Az.)
Appeals Court Ruling May Threaten DOJ Position in Dozens of Jan. 6 Cases (ET)
New York Times Is Now Telling Bigger Lies Than Iraq WMDs (Swanson)
Anheuser-Busch Loses $6BN In Six Days After Bud Light Trans Ad Campaign (ZH)

 

 

 

 

RFKjr Milgram

RFK jr autism
https://twitter.com/i/status/1646353148305457155

 

 

 

 

Babies stroke

 

 

Spike sperm
https://twitter.com/i/status/1646520024667148295

 

 

 

 

Rogan Taibbi

 

 

Tucker Musk

 

 

Tucker hot war

DC Draino:
Jack Texeira, the Ukraine Whistleblower, exposed Biden illegally putting US troops in Ukraine w/o Congressional authorization per the War Powers Resolution of 1973, an impeachable offense
His patriotism may end up stopping WW3
He doesn’t deserve jail time
He deserves an award

Pepe Escobar:
Old school Beltway intel source, retired:
Controlled leak.
Internal.
Way, way up – beyond the CIA.
21-year old gamer is a fall guy.
The circus is in town – actually a show that never ends.

 

 

 

 

“..the biggest peacebreaker and troublemaker in today’s world..”

“..It remains to be seen if they have noticed the changes in the Global South and started to reflect on the reasons behind them..”

US Fanning Ukraine Crisis, Exacerbating Ukrainians’ Suffering – Xinhua (TASS)

The United States has been fueling the crisis in Ukraine as it hampers peace there, while inflicting more pain on the Ukrainians, Xinhua said in a commentary on Friday. “As for the Ukraine crisis, the United States is constantly fanning the flame and hindering other countries from promoting talks for peace,” the Chinese news agency said. According to the commentary, leaders of many developing countries believe that by prolonging the crisis, Washington “is exacerbating the Ukrainians’ suffering, and impeding the resolution of other pressing issues facing the international community.” As a result, the international community, especially developing nations, “are more and more vocal in their criticism of the hegemonic and selfish behavior of the United States,” Xinhua maintains. While international peace and stability has been the biggest aspiration for developing countries, the agency argued, “it was made out of reach by the United States – the biggest peacebreaker and troublemaker in today’s world.”


“After the escalation of the Ukraine crisis, US-led Western countries launched severe sanctions against Russia, resulting in a spike of prices of global food, energy and other commodities, which overwhelmed developing countries,” the news agency emphasized. “It is obvious that more and more developing countries are now vocal in their opposition to the various irresponsible actions of the United States, with many refusing to follow the United States in imposing sanctions against Russia,” Xinhua added. “For years, American politicians have been used to pointing fingers at other countries and acting willfully on the international arena. It remains to be seen if they have noticed the changes in the Global South and started to reflect on the reasons behind them,” Xinhua concluded.

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“..Beijing is “not content to only have a seat at the table; it wants to run the table,” while Russia is seeking to “upend the table altogether.”

CIA Director Concedes US Power Is Waning (RT)

The dominant global role of the US can no longer be guaranteed as the country is witnessing a time of change “that comes along a couple of times a century,” CIA Director Bill Burns has claimed. Speaking at the Baker Institute earlier this week, Burns said that although Washington “still has a better hand to play than any of our rivals,” it is “no longer the only big kid on the geopolitical block and our position at the head of the table isn’t guaranteed.” The CIA chief pointed to growing ties between China and Russia, which he argued will present a “formidable challenge” for his agency for years to come. According to Burns, Beijing is “not content to only have a seat at the table; it wants to run the table,” while Russia is seeking to “upend the table altogether.”

Burns, who served as the US ambassador to Moscow under George W. Bush, condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, calling it an act of “brutish aggression.” He claimed the CIA has provided “good intelligence” that has “helped the Ukrainians defend themselves” and cemented “a strong coalition in support of Ukraine.” Burns added that Kiev’s long-anticipated spring offensive would feature “strong material and intelligence support from the US and our allies.” The spy chief claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not serious about negotiations” on a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and suggested that only Ukrainian progress on the battlefield was “likely to shape prospects for diplomacy.”

Russia has repeatedly stated that it is open to peace talks and has blamed Kiev and its Western allies for blocking negotiations. Ukraine has placed a legal ban on any talks with Russia as it seeks to defeat its opponent on the battlefield. Regarding China, Burns insisted that Beijing remains the CIA’s “biggest long-term priority.” He noted that in the last few years, the intelligence agency has doubled the resources it focuses on China, including hiring and training Mandarin speakers and stepping up efforts to compete with Beijing on the world stage. “Managing a crucial and increasingly adversarial relationship with China will be the most significant test for American policy makers for decades to come,” the US official said, arguing that the risk of a conflict over Taiwan will continue to grow.

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“I think it’s much more than infrastructure we’re talking about.”

“..the most dangerous period of time in the history of our country and in the history of the world, right now, and we have an incompetent person at the top.”

World Faces ‘Most Dangerous Period Of Time In History’ – Trump (RT)

The world has been pushed to the brink of total destruction by inept leaders and nuclear weapons that are 500 times as powerful as the atomic bombs that American forces dropped on Japan during World War II, former US president Donald Trump has claimed. “Look, we could end up in World War III over this whole thing,” Trump said in a Fox News interview that was aired on Wednesday night. He added, “I believe it is the most dangerous period of time in history – number one, because we have people on top that are incompetent. That’s number one.” Trump made his comments in the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Russian officials have warned that increasing US and NATO involvement in Ukraine, including massive military aid to Kiev, could escalate the crisis into a wider conflict, possibly involving nuclear weapons.

Asked by host Tucker Carlson who was behind last year’s bombing of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Trump said it wasn’t Moscow. He implied that Washington was involved in the sabotage, saying, “I don’t want to get our country in trouble, so I won’t answer it.” The former president acknowledged that it was “very dangerous” to blow up the pipelines, adding, “I think most people know who did it.” Asked whether the US put itself at risk of retaliatory strikes on its critical infrastructure, he said, “I think it’s much more than infrastructure we’re talking about.”

Trump also warned that nuclear weapons are the biggest threat facing the world today, and the US and Russian arsenals could cause unprecedented destruction. “All it takes is one madman, and you’re gonna have a problem the likes of which the world has never seen.” Trump, who is currently polling as the leading Republican Party candidate in the 2024 presidential race, blamed current US leadership for heightening the risk of nuclear war with Russia and China. “The most dangerous period of time – because of weaponry, because of nuclear, because of weaponry – the most dangerous period of time in the history of our country and in the history of the world, right now, and we have an incompetent person at the top.

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“Bolton urged Washington to prepare for what happens “after Ukraine wins its war with Russia.”

Bolton Touts ‘Grand Strategy’ To Counter Russia and China (RT)

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has urged Washington to implement a new Cold War-style strategy against Russia and China. According to the long-time hawk, the West should cut back on social security to fund military spending, renew testing of nuclear weapons, and provide NATO-like protection to Taiwan. Bolton, who served in the administration of President Donald Trump, described his “grand-strategy” approach to geopolitics in a Wall Street Journal column on Wednesday, urging candidates in the 2024 US presidential election to think in the same terms. The US should have a “contemporary reincarnation” of NSC-68, the top-secret document adopted under President Harry Truman which laid the foundation for militarizing the confrontation with the USSR. Bolton claimed that in the new Cold War, the US and its allies would be pitted against a Chinese-Russian “axis” and “accompanying rogue-state outriders like Iran and North Korea.”

He named several key points for his proposed strategy, including an immediate increase in military spending to Reagan-era levels, which he claimed should be maintained for the foreseeable future. Bolton also argued that Western nations should cut back on social spending, because “neither the obese welfare state nor massive income-redistribution schemes protect us from foreign adversaries.” In addition, he asserted that the US should upgrade its nuclear stockpiles, which would mean “the inevitable need to resume some underground testing.” Bolton’s plan also advocated the “improvement and expansion” of American military alliances, possibly by making NATO a global organization. This would help “exclude Moscow from regional influence, along with Beijing,” the former official claimed.

The self-governed Chinese island of Taiwan should get “much more military aid” from Western nations, which should “embed Taipei into collective-defense structures,” Bolton also suggested. The recommendation comes despite the Chinese government identifying Taiwanese separatism as a major ‘red line’ which may trigger military action if crossed. Finally, Bolton urged Washington to prepare for what happens “after Ukraine wins its war with Russia.” He claimed that such an outcome could lead to Russia’s fragmentation, and warned that China would then seize some of its territories, providing it with “direct access to the Arctic, including even the Bering Strait, facing Alaska.” Moscow has claimed that the conflict in Ukraine is part of a US proxy war against Russia, and that Washington’s goal is to partition the country. The Russian leadership has argued that this threat leaves it with no other option but to succeed in Ukraine.

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“Our army is too small as constituted to actually prosecute a war with these countries, but it’s large enough that it’s sucking a lot of resources away.”

US Military Would Need Conscription to Fight China (ET)

The U.S. military could not achieve victory in a war with China using its current, all-volunteer force, according to one expert. The United States will thus need to radically transform its force structure to better contend with the emerging threat environment, up to and including by reinstating conscription, said Jonathan Askonas, an assistant professor of Politics at Catholic University of America. “This is a five-alarm fire,” Askonas said during an April 11 discussion with the Hudson Institute think tank. “We’re facing global threats and we have a force structure which we know will not work against those threats. “We basically can’t fight a war larger than Iraq with the all-volunteer force.”

The all-volunteer force has been a staple of U.S. military organization since 1973, when the draft was terminated along with the United States’ direct involvement in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, Askonas said, the all-volunteer force was proving incapable of generating the number of service members required for a war between great powers, and its burdensome logistical processes were likely to be ineffective in either a conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific theater or supporting European powers against Russia. “We have a Goldilocks problem,” Askonas said. “Our army is too small as constituted to actually prosecute a war with these countries, but it’s large enough that it’s sucking a lot of resources away.”

“We have to be ruthless. We need to adapt our force structure not to hypothetical threats or in some universal Swiss army knife approach, but to the actual threats that we face.” To that end, Askonas suggested that the military should re-adopt a “cadre” system for deploying the military, not dissimilar to that used in World War II. Under such a system, the number of resource-heavy full time service members would be decreased in peacetime in favor of investing in expensive, slow-to-build items like warships.

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There is no stalemate.

Stalemate Will Force Ukraine To Enact ‘Full Mobilization’ – Media (RT)

The US believes that neither Ukraine nor Russia will achieve major gains on the battlefield this year, and that the ensuing stalemate will force Kiev to call up every last available man to fight, according to leaked Pentagon documents cited by the Washington Post. The US Defense Intelligence Agency views both Kiev and Moscow as having “insufficient troops and supplies for effective operations,” and as such predicts that the conflict in Ukraine will drag on into 2024, with both sides achieving only “marginal” territorial gains this year, the newspaper reported on Wednesday. Nevertheless, “negotiations to end the conflict are unlikely,” the agency reportedly wrote in its assessment, which was included in a trove of leaked documents.

The Post and a number of newspapers have published information from some of these documents, while simultaneously helping the government track down the suspected leaker, who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday after the New York Times published his identity. In a protracted conflict with little chance of victory or negotiations, it is Ukraine that will pay the heaviest price, the Pentagon reportedly believes. Such a stalemate will force Kiev to enact the “full mobilization” of its remaining male population, the Post reported, a move that will trigger public “criticism” of Vladimir Zelensky’s government and make “leadership changes more likely.”

The document also gives scenarios in which Ukraine either scores a decisive victory, forcing Russia to escalate or negotiate, or Russia scores a victory that enables it to demand regime change in Kiev. However, the stalemate outcome is reportedly listed as “the most likely scenario.” Kiev’s efforts to conscript civilians into military service have proven unpopular, with numerous videos surfacing showing men being forcibly detained on the streets and press-ganged into service. With Ukrainian lawmakers reportedly considering expanding the draft, many of those already in uniform have been funneled into the encircled Donbass town of Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), which they consider no longer worth defending.

Other recently leaked Pentagon documents revealed that, as of February, the US believes Ukraine has suffered up to 131,000 casualties in the conflict thus far, including up to 17,500 killed. Establishing a true body count is difficult, as Ukraine rarely publishes its losses. Last autumn, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put Kiev’s fatalities at 100,000, a claim that was disputed by Kiev and later removed from the EU’s websites. The Post noted that the documents did not specify whether a “leadership change” in Kiev refers to a rotation of political leaders or military brass. Officials in Kiev are reportedly outraged over the leak, which also included information suggesting Ukraine is ill-equipped to mount its long-promised spring counteroffensive.

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“..Burns presented Zelensky with a list of 35 generals and senior government officials whose corruption was known to the CIA. Zelensky responded by dismissing 10 officials..”

“.. Zelensky “has been buying the fuel from Russia, the country with which it, and Washington, are at war, and the Ukrainian president and many in his entourage have been skimming untold millions from the American dollars earmarked for diesel fuel payments.”

Seymour Hersh: The CIA Knows Ukrainian Officials Are Skimming US Aid (Antiwar)

On Wednesday, Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a report on Substack that alleged the CIA was aware of widespread corruption in Ukraine and the embezzlement of US aid. The report said the Ukrainian government has been using US taxpayer money to purchase diesel from Russia to fuel its military. Hersh said Zelensky “has been buying the fuel from Russia, the country with which it, and Washington, are at war, and the Ukrainian president and many in his entourage have been skimming untold millions from the American dollars earmarked for diesel fuel payments.” Hersh said according to one estimate by CIA analysts, at least $400 million in funds were embezzled last year. Sources told Hersh that Ukrainian officials are also “competing” to set up front companies for export contracts to private arms dealers around the world.

The issue of corruption was raised during a meeting between CIA Director William Burns and Zelensky in January. An intelligence official with direct knowledge of the meeting told Hersh that Burns delivered a stunning message to Zelensky. Hersh wrote: “The senior generals and government officials in Kiev were angry at what they saw as Zelensky’s greed, so Burns told the Ukrainian president, because ‘he was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals.’” During the meeting, Burns presented Zelensky with a list of 35 generals and senior government officials whose corruption was known to the CIA. Zelensky responded by dismissing 10 officials who were engaged in flagrant corruption. “The ten he got rid of were brazenly bragging about the money they had—driving around Kiev in their new Mercedes,” the intelligence official said.

Hersh said Zelensky’s “half-hearted response” and the “lack of concern” in the White House angered some US intelligence officials. The intelligence official speaking to Hersh criticized President Biden’s two main foreign policy advisors, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. “They have no experience, judgment, and moral integrity. They just tell lies, make up stories. Diplomatic deniability is something else,” the official said. The official said there was a “total breakdown between the White House leadership and the intelligence community.” The report said the rift started in the fall when the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines were blown up. According to Hersh’s earlier reporting, President Biden ordered the operation that took out the pipelines. “Destroying the Nord Stream pipelines was never discussed, or even known in advance, by the community,” the official said.

The official said there is “no strategy for ending the war” within the Biden administration and offered more scathing criticism of Blinken and Sullivan. “Burns is not the problem,” the official said. “The problem is Biden and his principal lieutenants—Blinken and Sullivan and their court of worshippers—who see those who criticize Zelensky as being pro-Putin. ‘We are against evil. Ukraine will fight ’til the last military shell is gone, and still fight.’ And here’s Biden who is telling America that we’re going to fight as long as it takes.” Hersh’s story comes after a series of leaked top-secret documents from the Pentagon and other government agencies surfaced online. Some of the documents show US war planning for Ukraine and reveal the US doubts Kyiv’s ability to launch a successful counter-offensive, offering a starkly different view of Ukraine’s abilities than what Biden officials have been saying publicly

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Move the UN. Or dissolve it altogether.

Moscow Urges Washington To Issue Visas To Russian Delegation To UN Events (TASS)

Moscow urges Washington to immediately issue visas to members of Russia’s delegation to events related to the country’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said. “The request to issue visas for the Russian delegation and the journalists was sent to the US Embassy in Moscow at the end of March. However, not a single entry permission has been granted so far,” the envoy said in a statement, commenting on the issuance of visas to members of the Russian delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “There was an agreement that the Russian media representatives would visit the American diplomatic mission on March 31 to have their visa applications examined. However, the appointment was canceled without any explanation less than one day prior to it. There is still no certainty, although there are only a few days left before the event,” Antonov noted.


“We urge Washington to immediately issue visas for our delegation, as well as for our journalists. Failure to do that is a violation of the United States’ obligations as the host country of the UN headquarters, which impedes appropriate, full-fledged functioning of the World Organization,” the Russian ambassador stressed. “An incomprehensible situation concerning the Minister’s special flight is evolving. The US authorities have not yet sanctioned the arrival of the aircraft. We expect Americans to promptly grant the flight permission without any conditions or restrictions,” Antonov added. The UN secretary general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a briefing on Wednesday that the United Nations expected the US to issue visas to members of Lavrov’s delegation, expected to visit the UN headquarters in late April.

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“Every night I ask myself why all countries have to base their trade on the dollar. Why can’t we do trade based on our own currencies?”

Brazil Rebels Against US Dollar ‘Straitjacket’ (RT)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has stated that developing nations should move away from the US dollar in favor of their own currencies in order to push back against American dominance over the global financial system. Speaking in Shanghai on Thursday during an official visit to China, Lula said the BRICS group – comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – should look for an alternative currency to the dollar for trade. “Every night I ask myself why all countries have to base their trade on the dollar. Why can’t we do trade based on our own currencies?” he said. “Who was it that decided that the dollar was the currency after the disappearance of the gold standard?”

The leftist leader went on to lament that “everyone depends on just one currency,” referring to the dollar, and proposed “a currency to finance trade relations between Brazil and China, between Brazil and other countries.” Lula kicked off his trip to China with an event to mark the appointment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as the head of the New Development Bank, also known as the ‘BRICS bank,’ which he said could free emerging economies “from submission to traditional financial institutions, which want to govern us.”

Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad also traveled with the president to China, where he told reporters that Brazil would aim to create trade mechanisms for developing countries to bypass the use of the dollar. “The advantage is to avoid the straitjacket imposed by necessarily having trade operations settled in a currency of a country not involved in the transaction,” he said. Lula’s visit to China comes as Beijing increasingly promotes the use of its own currency, the renminbi, to settle international transactions. Last month, Russia said it had adopted the yuan as one of its primary reserve currencies amid a massive sanctions campaign linked to the conflict in Ukraine, highlighting a gradual shift away from the Western financial system by some major powers.

Trade between China and Brazil has seen a significant boost over the last decade, with more than $150 billion in business recorded last year. Chinese firms have bought up large amounts of minerals and agricultural goods in the South American country, and invested in Brazilian infrastructure. The Brazilian president arrived in China on Wednesday night and will remain there until April 15. After his speech in Shanghai, Lula headed off to Beijing, where he is set to meet with President Xi Jinping on Friday. The two leaders are expected to focus on issues related to trade and foreign policy – such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to develop roads, highways and other infrastructure in foreign countries – according to the Financial Times.

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“..the EU’s legal service has not yet found an answer to a question what to do if the EU loses these funds in a certain situation..”

Frozen Assets To Be Returned To Russia After End Of Conflict (TASS)

Lawyers of the European Commission (EC) have arrived at a conclusion that assets of the Bank of Russia frozen in the EU will have to be returned to Russia after the end of the conflict in Ukraine, Die Welt newspaper said on Thursday, citing an unpublished EC document. Assets of the Bank of Russia cannot be simply transferred to Ukraine, EC experts said. “There is political will but legal barriers are high. The European Commission comes to a sobering conclusion that frozen assets cannot be touched since once upon a time, when the war ends, they will have to be returned to Russia,” the newspaper informed. The next one suggested by the EC is to invest frozen assets of the Bank of Russia in European government bonds and use the interest for payments to Kiev. At the same time, the EU’s legal service has not yet found an answer to a question what to do if the EU loses these funds in a certain situation, the newspaper reported. Actions in such case still need to be clarified, Die Welt said.

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“..According to the Kremlin, only half of the agreement is currently being implemented because not all parties have kept their side of the bargain…”

UN Seeking To Reconnect Some Russian Banks To SWIFT (RT)

The United Nations is discussing bringing some Russian banks back to the SWIFT payment system in order to help keep grain shipments from Ukraine going, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said. When asked during a briefing on Wednesday if any progress had been made on Russia’s demands regarding the grain agreement, Dujarric said that UN officials were “trying to doggedly move the process forward.” Moscow warned on Wednesday that the outlook for extending beyond May 18 the grain deal, which ensures the safe export of grain and fertilizer from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports, was “not good.”

The Kremlin has demanded allowing Russian Agricultural Bank to return to SWIFT, permitting Russia to import agricultural machinery, as well as the removal of insurance restrictions, port access for Russian ships and cargo, and an unblocking of the financial activities of Russian fertilizer companies. “Obviously, the fact that a number of Russian financial institutions are not, if not all of them, I’m not sure, are not in the SWIFT system makes things more complicated. And we are in discussions with the people who are responsible for SWIFT and the Europeans and others on that,” Dujarric said.

According to him, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has no authority over SWIFT or over the EU member states that imposed anti-Russia sanctions. “He has no authority over insurance companies, shipping companies. He can’t tell them what to do,” the spokesman stressed, adding that “we’re trying to herd a whole group of people.” While the Western sanctions do not directly target Russian agricultural goods, they affect payments, insurance and shipping. With many Russian banks disconnected from SWIFT, direct settlements for exports have been made difficult. Under the pact, brokered in July last year by the UN and Türkiye, Russia was to receive a sanctions reprieve for its own agricultural goods. However, Moscow has voiced discontent with UN efforts to lift Western restrictions affecting the sector.

According to the Kremlin, only half of the agreement is currently being implemented because not all parties have kept their side of the bargain. In March, Moscow agreed to extend the agreement for 60 days, stressing it would only consider a further extension if the demands in relation to its own exports were met. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the time that the organization would “do everything possible to preserve the integrity” of the deal and make sure that it continued to function. The Black Sea export agreement has reportedly allowed more than 27.5 million tons of food to be shipped out, which, according to the UN, has helped lower food prices across the world.

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Every real estate company makes itself look the best it can. What fraud?

Trump Testifies In New York Business Fraud Case (Az.)

Former US President Donald Trump answered questions Thursday in New York during his second deposition in a civil case accusing him of business fraud, according to Anadolu Agency. The deposition came only a week after Trump’s arraignment on criminal charges in a separate lawsuit. The $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James last year against the ex-president claims that Trump and his family misled banks and business associates about his net worth and the value of some of his assets. Trump denies any wrongdoing. The questions behind closed doors took nearly seven hours, according to media reports. ”This civil case is ridiculous, just like all of the other Election Interference cases being brought against me,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social ahead of his testimony. Last week, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to his alleged involvement in a scheme to pay “hush money” to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

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Obstruction.

Appeals Court Ruling May Threaten DOJ Position in Dozens of Jan. 6 Cases (ET)

An April 7 decision issued by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals may jeopardize a key legal backing used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach, according to attorney Albert Watkins. “What this opinion did do was, it practically begged for other [Jan. 6] cases to be brought up to the Court of Appeals that would permit a more balanced opinion,” Watkins, who has represented four Jan. 6 defendants, including released prisoner Jacob Chansley, told The Epoch Times on April 11. Watkins’s comment came after a three-judge panel at the D.C. Court of Appeals on April 7, struck down a lower court’s ruling in a 2–1 vote, dismissing a federal charge against three Jan. 6 defendants, and rejected the lower court’s reasoning about the scope of the obstruction charge.

Although the higher court’s ruling (pdf) allowed the DOJ’s prosecution of these three specific defendants—Joseph Fischer, Edward Lang, and Garret Miller—to continue, the effect of the higher court’s opinion extends beyond these cases, the attorney said. According to Watkins, this extended effect has to do with the interpretation of language regarding “corrupt” intention in obstruction charges, considering that the DOJ has been using the obstruction charge as an “attractive” legal tool to prosecute Jan. 6 cases and score plea agreements. According to a provision in the statute for obstruction charge (18 U.S. Code Section 1512 2(c)), “Whoever corruptly … obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

A narrowed definition of this provision could hinder the DOJ’s ability to use the charge further and introduce uncertainties in the ongoing trials, the attorney indicated. The DOJ had charged more than 200 Jan. 6 defendants with obstruction-related charges. “It should cause a certain degree of trepidation on the part of the Department of Justice about utilizing—in a very footloose and fancy-free fashion—the obstruction of an official proceeding charge as the count of choice for pleas,” Watkins said. “I will say it was, in many respects, an extraordinary opinion—more time was spent addressing potential issues not before the court than the issues actually before the court.”

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“What in the world would it mean to oppose organized mass murder because it skews right wing?”

New York Times Is Now Telling Bigger Lies Than Iraq WMDs (Swanson)

The New York Times routinely tells bigger lies than the clumsy nonsense it published about weapons in Iraq. Here’s an example. This package of lies is called “Liberals Have a Blind Spot on Defense” but mentions nothing related to defense. It simply pretends that militarism is defensive by applying that word and by lying that “we face simultaneous and growing military threats from Russia and China.” Seriously? Where? The U.S. military budget is more than those of most nations of the world combined. Only 29 nations, out of some 200 on Earth, spend even 1 percent what the U.S. does. Of those 29, a full 26 are U.S. weapons customers. Many of those receive free U.S. weapons and/or training and/or have U.S. bases in their countries.

Only one non-ally, non-weapons customer (albeit a collaborator in bioweapons research labs) spends over 10% what the U.S. does, namely China, which was at 37% of U.S. spending in 2021 and likely about the same now despite the highly horrifying increases widely reported in the U.S. media and on the floor of Congress. (That’s not considering weapons for Ukraine and various other U.S. expenses.) While the U.S. has planted military bases around Russia and China, neither has a military base anywhere near the United States, and neither has threatened the United States. Now, if you don’t want to fill the globe with U.S. weaponry and provoke Russia and China on their borders, the New York Times has some additional lies for you: “Defense spending is about as pure an application of a domestic industrial policy — with thousands of good-paying, high-skilled manufacturing jobs — as any other high-tech sector.”

No, it is not. Just about any other way of spending public dollars, or even not taxing them in the first place, produces more and better jobs. Here’s a doozie: “Liberals also used to be hostile to the military on the assumption that it skewed right wing, but that’s a harder argument to make when the right is complaining about a ‘woke military.’” What in the world would it mean to oppose organized mass murder because it skews right wing? What the hell else could it skew? I oppose militarism because it kills, destroys, damages the Earth, drives homelessness and illness and poverty, prevents global cooperation, tears down the rule of law, prevents self-governance, produces the dumbest pages of the New York Times, fuels bigotry, and militarizes police, and because there are better ways to resolve disputes and to resist the militarism of others. I’m not going to start cheering for mass killings because some general doesn’t hate enough groups.

Then there’s this lie: “The Biden administration touts the size of its $842 billion budget request, and in nominal terms it’s the largest ever. But that fails to account for inflation.” If you look at U.S. military spending according to SIPRI in constant 2021 dollars from 1949 to now (all the years they provide, with their calculation adjusting for inflation), Obama’s 2011 record will probably fall this year. If you look at actual numbers, not adjusting for inflation, Biden has set a new record each year. If you add in the free weapons for Ukraine, then, even adjusting for inflation, the record fell this past year and will probably be broken again in the coming year.

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How to kill a brand.

Anheuser-Busch Loses $6BN In Six Days After Bud Light Trans Ad Campaign (ZH)

After reaching a three-year high of $66.73 per share, Bud Light parent company Anheuser Busch Inbev lost more than $6 billion in market cap since announcing its partnership with 26-year-old transgender ‘influencer’ Dylan Mulvaney on April 2, as bar owners and distributors report a sharp decline in Bud Light sales over the past week. The company’s market cap fell as low as $125.7 billion, down from $132.8 billion six days ago, a drop of more than five-percent. Meanwhile competitor Molson Coors (TAP) saw $350 million added to its market cap over the last week. Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney included custom cans featuring his face and pro-LGBTQ language to commemorate the biological male’s ‘being a woman’ for over a year.


The ad campaign kicked off with naked Mulvaney drinking Bud Light in a bathtub. And while Anheuser-Busch issued a statement in support of Mulvaney, saying it “works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics,” the Daily Wire reports that company executives had no idea about the ad campaign. “No one at the senior level” of the company was aware of Bud Light’s polarizing partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, sources close to the situation claim. The company is also allegedly pausing its marketing efforts and scrambling to implement a more “robust” process for evaluating future influencer partnerships.

“No one at a senior level was aware this was happening,” said one source, who was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions. “Some low-level marketing staffer who helps manage the hundreds of influencer engagements they do must have thought it was no big deal. Obviously it was, and it’s a shame because they have a well-earned reputation for just being America’s beer — not a political company. It was a mistake.” A second source also claimed that a lower level employee had made the decision to include Mulvaney in the campaign, a move that appears to have cost the company $5 billion in market value. The backlash to the iconic American beer brand has been so intense that a Budweiser distributor in Missouri canceled an event with the company’s famous Clydesdale horses because everything was “still sensitive” over the matter.” -Daily Wire

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Goats on trees
https://twitter.com/i/status/1646533792495206403

 

 


An albino tree is unable to produce chlorophyll & survives by obtaining sugar through neighboring trees’ roots

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 132023
 


John William Godward Dolce Far Niente (Sweet Idleness, or A Pompeian Fishpond) 1904

 

Waiting For The End of The World (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky, Team Stole At Least $400 Million Of Western Aid – Seymour Hersh (RT)
US Admin Losing Trust Among Its Intelligence Community – Seymour Hersh (TASS)
Musk Calls Out BBC Reporter Over ‘Lies’ (RT)
Six Things We Learned From Elon Musk Interview (BBC)
Ukrainian Counteroffensive Could Be Postponed – PM (RT)
US Planning For ‘Wild Card’ Scenarios In Ukraine – NYT (RT)
Xi Warns Armed Forces To Prepare For ‘Actual Combat’ – Chinese Media (RT)
Putin Warrant Could Derail BRICS Summit – South Africa (RT)
Joe Biden Boosted Ukraine Gas Industry As Hunter Took Burisma Role (NYP)
Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit vs Michael Cohen (RT)
Ten Men, $1 Trillion, and the Personalization of American Capitalism (Schultz)
The Retreat From the Enlightenment Can be Stopped (BI)
The COVID Vaccines Were Never Tested for Safety (Kirsch)
Doctors Received Millions in Bonuses for Vaccinating Medicaid Patients (CHD)
US Government Borrows $6 Billion a Day (Whitehead)

 

 

Polish PM Morawiecki visited the White House

 

 


According to Russia, the Ukrainian biolabs were/are testing 200+ deadly pathogens

 

 

Ritter Geneva

 

 

 

 

Agenda21
https://twitter.com/i/status/1645581639119151105

 

 

Candace
https://twitter.com/i/status/1645870936959389700

 

 

Trump Tucker

 

 

Surovikin : I don’t want to sacrifice any more Russian soldiers in a guerrilla war against hordes of fanatics armed by NATO. We have enough forces & technical means to bring Ukraine to complete surrender”

 

 

 

 

“Xi and Putin, with one Sun Tzu move, immobilized Orientalism, Eurocentrism, Exceptionalism and, last but not least, Neo-Colonialism..”

Waiting For The End of The World (Pepe Escobar)

We cannot even begin to fathom the non-stop ripple effects deriving from the 2023 geopolitical earthquake that shook the world: Putin and Xi, in Moscow, de facto signaling the beginning of the end of Pax Americana. This has been the ultimate anathema for rarified Anglo-American hegemonic elites for over a century: a signed, sealed, comprehensive strategic partnership of two peer competitors, intertwining a massive manufacturing base and pre-eminence in supply of natural resources – with value-added Russian state of the art weaponry and diplomatic nous. From the point of view of these elites, whose Plan A was always a debased version of the Roman Empire’s Divide and Rule, this was never supposed to happen. In fact, blinded by hubris, they never saw it coming.

Historically, this does not even qualify as a remix of the Tournament of Shadows; it’s more like Tawdry Empire Left in the Shade, “foaming at the mouth” (copyright Maria Zakharova). Xi and Putin, with one Sun Tzu move, immobilized Orientalism, Eurocentrism, Exceptionalism and, last but not least, Neo-Colonialism. No wonder the Global South was riveted by what developed in Moscow. Adding insult to injury, we have China, the world’s largest economy by far when measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), as well as the largest exporter. And we have Russia, an economy that by PPP is equivalent or even larger than Germany’s – with the added advantages of being the world’s largest energy exporter and not forced to de-industrialize. Together, in synch, they are focused on creating the necessary conditions to bypass the US dollar.

Cue to one of President Putin’s crucial one-liners: “We are in favor of using the Chinese yuan for settlements between Russia and the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.” A key consequence of this geopolitical and geoeconomic alliance, carefully designed throughout the past few years, is already in play: the emergence of a possible triad in terms of global trade relations and, in many aspects, a Global Trade War. Eurasia is being led – and largely organized – by the Russia-China partnership. China will also play a key role across the Global South, but India may also become quite influential, agglutinating what would be a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on steroids. And then there is the former “indispensable nation” ruling over the EU vassals and the Anglosphere rounded up in the Five Eyes.

The Hegemon, under its self-concocted “rules-based international order”, essentially never did diplomacy. Divide and Rule, by definition, precludes diplomacy. Now their version of “diplomacy” has degenerated even further into crude insults by an array of US, EU and UK’s intellectually challenged and frankly moronic functionaries. It’s no wonder that a true gentleman, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, has been forced to admit, “Russia is no longer a partner of the EU… The European Union ‘lost’ Russia. But the Union itself is to blame. After all, EU member states… openly declare that Russia should be dealt a strategic defeat. That is why we consider the EU to be an enemy organization.” And yet the new Russian foreign policy concept, announced by Putin on March 31st, makes it quite clear: Russia does not consider itself an “enemy of the West” and does not seek isolation.

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“..Zelensky “was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals..”

Zelensky, Team Stole At Least $400 Million Of Western Aid – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his senior officials are skimming American taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed on Wednesday. The alleged grift even includes schemes involving trade with Russia itself. Zelensky and his entourage embezzled at least $400 million from US funds meant for diesel procurement last year, Hersh claimed in a new article on Substack, citing a CIA estimate. Meanwhile, Kiev has allegedly been buying diesel fuel, which is essential for the war effort, from Russia itself – and in the process skimming large sums of US funds earmarked for diesel payments. Reports had earlier surfaced about how oil products originating in Russia had made their way to Ukraine through Bulgaria and Latvia. The scheme involving the Baltic state, which was reported in detail by the Latvian television program Neka Personiga, may have violated the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions.

An expert cited by Hersh compared the level of corruption in Ukrainian procurement to what was seen in Afghanistan, when a US-backed government was in charge in Kabul. According to his sources, ministries in Kiev compete to set up front firms in order to export weapons and ammunition, with the relevant officials profiting from kickbacks. The US government , meanwhile, has stated that it has seen no evidence of Western-supplied weapons in Ukraine being diverted elsewhere. Hersh cited an intelligence source who referred to the January meeting between Zelensky and CIA Director William Burns. The US official allegedly presented a list of 35 generals and ministers known to the CIA to be corrupt. Senior Ukrainian officials also complained that Zelensky “was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals,” the source explained, comparing the meeting to a scene from a 1950s mob movie.

Hersh contends that the Ukrainian leader’s response was to fire staff from the Cabinet of Ministers, regional administrations, and other parts of the Ukrainian government. Kiev claimed the move was part of its anti-corruption strategy. Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who became mired in a scandal over purchases of overpriced food for troops, was widely expected to be sacked at the time, but he survived the purge. Hersh’s sources blamed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for the ongoing crisis in the US government, which allegedly suffers from discord between the White House and intelligence community. The two top foreign policy officials have shown “strident ideology and lack of political skill” over the Ukraine conflict, according to the sources.

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“..depicting Blinken “as little more than a ‘jumped-up congressional staffer’ and Sullivan as ‘a political campaign manager’.”

US Admin Losing Trust Among Its Intelligence Community – Seymour Hersh (TASS)

The indecisiveness and indifference of US President Joe Biden’s administration on a number of issues is leading to a breakdown in trust between the White House and some arms of the intelligence community, US investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh said in an article posted on the Substack subscription network on Wednesday. A lack of leadership is “leading to a ‘total breakdown’ of trust between the White House and some elements of the intelligence community,” he wrote.


Among other things, the work of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is a source of dissatisfaction for the intelligence community, since “the president and his two main foreign policy advisers ‘live in different worlds’ than the experienced diplomats and military and intelligence officers assigned to the White House,” he wrote. Hersh quoted “a prominent retired American diplomat who strenuously opposes Biden’s foreign policy toward China and Russia” as depicting Blinken “as little more than a ‘jumped-up congressional staffer’ and Sullivan as ‘a political campaign manager’.” The diplomat qualified them as ‘decent pols’ who “suddenly find themselves front and center in the world of high-powered diplomacy ‘with no empathy for the opposition’,” Hersh said.

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Apart perhaps from global political leaders, Musk is one of the most interesting people for a news outlet to interview. The BBC gets the chance, and what do they do? They send in amateur hour.

BBC: “Hate speech has risen on twitter. I’ve seen it personally” @elonmusk “Can you name an example”. BBC reporter: “No, because I don’t use that feed after you took it over..

Musk Calls Out BBC Reporter Over ‘Lies’ (RT)

Elon Musk has accused a BBC reporter of lying about hate speech on Twitter. An audio excerpt from a Twitter Spaces discussion showed US-based tech journalist James Clayton struggling to justify his own questions on the alleged rise of offensive content on the social media platform. At one point in the interview, Clayton asked Musk to respond to claims that hate speech had become more prevalent on Twitter, and that there was not enough moderation staff after Musk admitted to laying off over 80% of the company’s workforce since his takeover last October. After Musk asked the reporter to clarify the allegations, Clayton claimed that he had personally seen more “hateful content” in his ‘For You’ feed since the billionaire took over the company.

Musk BBC

The Twitter CEO then asked the journalist to define what he meant by “hateful content” and to provide at least one example of an offensive post he had seen. Clayton replied that he views “hateful content” as “slightly racist” and “slightly sexist,” but struggled to provide any examples, admitting that hadn’t actually used the feed for several weeks. “Then, I say, sir, that you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Musk interjected. You can’t provide a single example of hateful content, not even one Tweet. And yet, you claimed that hateful content was high. That is false. You just lied. The BBC reporter insisted that there are “many organizations” that have noted a rise in offensive content on the platform. Musk dismissed that notion, stating that “people say all sorts of nonsense,” which prompted Clayton to move on to the next topic.


The journalist then asked Musk about Twitter changing its Covid misinformation rules. The billionaire replied that “Covid is no longer an issue” and argued that the BBC itself could be accused of spreading misinformation about the virus and failing to report on the side-effects of vaccinations. “And what about the fact that the BBC was put under pressure by the British government to change their editorial policy?” Musk asked. Clayton deflected by saying the interview “wasn’t about the BBC.” The British broadcaster later aired parts of the interview and simply ran with the headline: “Elon Musk speaks to the BBC.” Despite his criticism of the broadcaster, Musk said during the interview that Twitter will change the BBC’s recently added “government-funded organization” label on the social media platform to say that it is “publicly-funded” instead.

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And no, BBC, you can’t make up for that interview disaster.

Six Things We Learned From Elon Musk Interview (BBC)

1. He denies hate speech on Twitter has spiked. Mr Musk refused to accept there was more hateful content on the platform since he took over. Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, some Twitter insiders have argued that the company is no longer able to protect users from trolling, state-coordinated disinformation and child sexual exploitation, following lay-offs and changes under owner Mr Musk. In March, Twitter said it removed 400,000 accounts in one month alone to help “make Twitter safer”. In order to assess Mr Musk’s claims fully you’d need two things which we don’t have at present – access to Twitter’s data before and after his takeover and, crucially, a clear understanding of how he defines misinformation and hate speech. There is no blanket definition of hate speech under American law, which is generally much more permissive than other countries because of the first amendment to the US Constitution.

[..] 3. He says Twitter is beating the bots in war on disinfo. Mr Musk claimed his efforts to delete bots – automated accounts – had decreased misinformation on Twitter after his takeover. “My experience is there is less misinformation rather than more,” he told our reporter. Some outside experts disagree. A study from Newsguard which tracks online misinformation – and there are quite a few other studies along the same lines – found that engagement with popular, misinformation-spreading accounts spiked after Mr Musk’s takeover. In the week following his acquisition of Twitter, the most popular, untrustworthy accounts enjoyed an almost 60% increase in engagement in the form of likes and retweets, according to the survey. The BBC has also independently analysed more than 1,000 previously-banned accounts that had been let back on Twitter after Mr Musk’s takeover, and found that since being reinstated, over a third of them had spread abuse or misinformation. This included false anti-vax claims, misogyny and anti-LGBT rhetoric, and the denial of the 2020 US election result.

4. He’s against banning TikTok. Mr Musk says he doesn’t use the most downloaded app in the US but he is against any moves to close it down. The US is considering a ban due to security concerns over TikTok’s Chinese ownership. Some other countries have banned it from the phones of government employees. “I’m generally against banning things,” said Mr Musk, although he says a ban would benefit Twitter because it may mean more people spending time on his platform.

5. He would turn down $44bn for Twitter. Mr Musk initially claimed in the interview that if someone offered to buy Twitter right now for what he paid for it, he’d refuse. If he did sell, he said it would be more important to find a buyer who cherishes the “truth” rather than how much they’d pay because, as he says: “I don’t care about the money.” But is that true? Remember, he desperately tried to back out of the deal. Mr Musk said Twitter had just months left to live when he took over and was being run like a non-profit. Twitter’s costs were outstripping the amount of revenue it was generating. In its last full-year results published before Mr Musk took over, total sales hit $5bn in 2021 but costs and expenses reached $5.5bn. In fact, it has only had two profitable years since 2012. He reckons Twitter is now close to breaking even. No wonder – sacking 6,500 workers does tend to lighten one’s costs.

But he has also been proactive in finding ways to boost sales through things such as changing Twitter users for “blue tick” verification. So yes, Twitter might be nearing breaking even now because of drastic cost-cutting. But the question is whether it can sustain that path to profitability and make the company worth that $44bn price tag.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1646152389122981888

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“..Kiev faced significant “force generation and sustainment shortfalls.”

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Could Be Postponed – PM (RT)

The much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive may not get underway until this summer, the country’s prime minister has told The Hill. Denis Shmigal also called on Kiev’s Western backers to provide it with more weapons, including fighter jets, to ensure that Ukraine prevails on the battlefield. In an interview published by the US outlet on Tuesday, Shmigal claimed that Ukraine does not “feel the pressure from our friends and partners vis-a-vis the start of the offensive.” Instead, he argued it is the Ukrainian public that is demanding decisive action soon. The senior official noted that there is consensus among Kiev’s backers that it needs to be “100%, and even more percent prepared” before launching its push.

“To be prepared for [a] counteroffensive, we need more artillery, ammunition. We need more middle, or average and long-range missiles, we need tanks and we will need fighter jets,” Shmigal asserted. While expressing gratitude for the defense aid already provided by the US, the premier did criticize Washington for its reluctance to consider Ukraine’s accession to NATO in the foreseeable future. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing alleged leaked Pentagon documents, that US intelligence had been skeptical in February as to whether Ukraine would be able to make significant territorial gains with a counteroffensive. According to a supposedly classified document, Kiev faced significant “force generation and sustainment shortfalls.”

A separate part of the leaked trove suggested that five out of the 12 “combat credible” new brigades expected to spearhead the counteroffensive had yet to start training at that point. Half of those fresh brigades badly lacked the necessary equipment as of late February, the paper claimed, citing supposed analysis by the US military. The Pentagon is also said to have raised the alarm over the depletion of Kiev’s air defenses – another factor that could prevent the anticipated counteroffensive from being a success, the Post reported. While some of the documents from the trove appear to have been doctored, US defense officials have acknowledged that at least some of the information could be “sensitive and highly-classified material.” An investigation has been launched to establish the source of the leak.

Ritter Wagner

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“The four outcomes considered by the DIA are the deaths of either Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky or Russian President Vladimir Putin, the removal of leadership within the Russian Armed Forces, or a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin.”

US Planning For ‘Wild Card’ Scenarios In Ukraine – NYT (RT)

The Pentagon has gamed out four “wild card” scenarios that could affect the conflict in Ukraine, including the sudden deaths of the presidents of Russia or Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing a leaked document. According to the NYT, the document was compiled by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in February and published on social media in recent weeks, along with a trove of other classified files, most relating to the US’ involvement in the Ukraine conflict. The four outcomes considered by the DIA are the deaths of either Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky or Russian President Vladimir Putin, the removal of leadership within the Russian Armed Forces, or a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin. The DIA reportedly believes that a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin could lead to “a full-scale military mobilization” in Russia or a threat by Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Alternately, the American planners think that such a brazen escalation by Kiev could force Putin “to negotiate a settlement to the war.” The NYT did not elaborate on which outcome the Pentagon views as most realistic, or on the likelihood – in Washington’s eyes – of a Ukrainian strike on Moscow. The newspaper also declined to spell out the consequences of Zelensky or Putin’s deaths, or a leadership rotation within the Russian military. Original copies of the document appear to have been scrubbed from the Discord server where they were initially posted, leaving this article the only immediately-available source. US officials did not confirm whether the document was genuine, but did not dispute its authenticity, the NYT noted. The Pentagon has taken a similar stance on all of the recent Ukraine-related leaks, acknowledging that some of the material is “similar in format” to its intelligence briefings, without issuing a direct confirmation.

Other files in the leak detail the US’ war plans and the number of NATO special forces on the ground in Ukraine, Kiev’s rapidly deteriorating ammunition situation and military readiness, and other “sensitive” material related to Ukraine, China, the Middle East, and terrorism. Moscow is considering the possibility that the documents could be forgeries, disseminated to the media in order to lull the Kremlin into a false sense of security about Ukraine’s military capabilities. “Because the US is a party in the conflict [in Ukraine] and is essentially waging a hybrid war against us, such tricks to deceive the enemy, meaning Russia, are possible,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.

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“Formally, Washington still professes to adhere to the ‘One-China’ principle.”

Xi Warns Armed Forces To Prepare For ‘Actual Combat’ – Chinese Media (RT)

President Xi Jinping has urged the Chinese military to prepare for real combat, national media reported on Wednesday. The remarks came days after Beijing held massive military drills around Taiwan which reportedly involved the simulation of precision strikes on the self-governing island. Addressing military personnel at a navy base in Southern China on Tuesday, Xi called for the strengthening of “military training oriented toward actual combat,” as quoted by the state-run CCTV channel. The Chinese leader is reported to have named the defense of Beijing’s “territorial sovereignty and maritime interests” as well as the protection of “overall peripheral stability” as the navy’s core mission. On Saturday, China launched three-day military exercises codenamed ‘United Sharp Sword’ in the vicinity of Taiwan.

According to Taipei’s military, it detected nine warships and some 71 warplanes in the area the following day. Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, described the vessels and aircraft as “encircling” the island. He clarified that the drills were meant as a warning “against the collusion between separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and external forces, and against their provocative activities.” The military maneuvers came on the back of a visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the US last week, when she met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The meeting was the second time Tsai had sat down with a US House speaker in less than a year. A visit by McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan in August infuriated Beijing, which responded with its largest-ever drills in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan has been de facto independent since 1949, when the losing side in the Chinese civil war fled to the island and established its own administration. While only a handful of nations have recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state, the US has long maintained close, unofficial ties with Taipei, both militarily and economically. Formally, Washington still professes to adhere to the ‘One-China’ principle. Beijing considers the island to be an inalienable part of its territory that has been seized by separatists, and accuses the US of meddling in its domestic affairs and encouraging “secessionist” politicians. While the Chinese leadership says it prioritizes a peaceful ‘reunification’, it has not ruled out military options.

Maersheimer

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“..South African officials applied to withdraw from the court, a decision that was later reversed after a High Court ruling determined that such a move was unconstitutional..”

Putin Warrant Could Derail BRICS Summit – South Africa (RT)

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown a “spanner in the works” of an upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa in August, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday. As a signatory to the 2002 Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to enforce the ICC’s warrant for Putin’s arrest. However, the country is also hosting this year’s BRICS summit, at which the leaders of the world’s largest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are due to meet. “All heads of state would be expected to attend the summit. But now we have a spanner in the works in the form of this ICC warrant,” Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, told reporters.

“What that dictates is that there be further engagements in terms of how that is going to be managed, and those engagements are underway,” Magwenya continued. “Once they’ve been concluded, the necessary announcements will be made.” Ramaphosa’s government has been aware of the dilemma surrounding the warrant since its issue, with Magwenya last month declining to say whether Pretoria would enforce it. Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that he would dispatch an envoy to Washington to clarify his “non-aligned” stance on the Ukraine conflict. South Africa and Russia have been close partners since the Soviet Union backed the anti-apartheid African National Congress, which today is led by Ramaphosa. Under his leadership, South Africa has refused to condemn Russia’s military operation in Ukraine or impose sanctions on Moscow, while the country’s military took part in joint exercises with Russian and Chinese forces earlier this year.

Pretoria has its own issues with the ICC, and was chastised by the court in 2017 for failing to arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015 for an African leaders’ summit. Following the incident, South African officials applied to withdraw from the court, a decision that was later reversed after a High Court ruling determined that such a move was unconstitutional. In issuing the warrant, the court accused Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova of the “unlawful deportation” of children from “occupied areas of Ukraine.” The charges refer to Russia’s efforts to evacuate civilians away from areas – mostly in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Donbass – shelled by the Ukrainian military. Russia – which like the US, China, and India, does not recognize the court’s authority – has dismissed the warrant as “null and void from the legal standpoint.”

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Looking at Biden and Trump, it’s clear there’s no such thing as equal justice in the US. That is a threat.

Joe Biden Boosted Ukraine Gas Industry As Hunter Took Burisma Role (NYP)

Then-Vice President Joe Biden visited Ukraine on a mission to bolster the country’s energy industry days after his son Hunter joined the board of natural gas company Burisma in 2014 — which a former White House stenographer claims implicates the now-80-year-old in a foreign influence-peddling “kickback scheme.” Mike McCormick says he was with current national security adviser Jake Sullivan — then a Biden aide — in the press cabin of Air Force Two en route to Kyiv on April 21, 2014, as he outlined how the world’s wealthiest country would help the deeply corrupt post-Soviet state build its gas industry. Giving a rundown of Biden’s priorities for the trip, Sullivan — described as a “senior administration official” — said the then-vice president would “discuss with [Ukrainian officials] medium- and long-term strategies to boost conventional gas production, and also to begin to take advantage of the unconventional gas reserves that are in Ukraine.”

Asked for details, the Biden aide said the US was interested in providing “technical assistance to help [Ukraine] be able to boost production in their conventional gas fields, where presently they aren’t getting the maximum of what they could be” while offering “technical assistance relating to a regulatory framework, and also the technology that would be required to extract unconventional gas resources; and Ukraine has meaningful reserves of unconventional gas according to the latest estimates.” In December of that year, amid broader Obama administration support for Ukraine, Congress approved $50 million to support the country’s energy sector, including the natural gas industry. McCormick, who worked more than a decade at the White House, told The Post this week he believes the timeline of events demonstrates Joe Biden was using his position to help his son’s foreign business interests.

“Joe Biden was over there telling them, ‘You can’t be corrupt! You can’t be corrupt!’ while he was corrupt,” McCormick says. “Look, this is Air Force Two. This is Joe Biden’s plane. He’s in control of it. Jake Sullivan was in the front of the plane with Joe Biden in a meeting and then he walks back in the plane to talk to the press.” Now, McCormick tells The Post that he wants to testify before the federal grand jury in Delaware considering charges against Hunter — saying he has relevant information that the FBI ignored. “They’ve been looking at Hunter Biden, but this ties Joe Biden and [Sullivan] into promoting a kickback scheme with Ukraine,” he said. “It’s the timeline that does it.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1646292358055559168

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“..the former president and “those in his orbit” should be held accountable “because it saves and it preserves democracy.”

Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit vs Michael Cohen (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has sued Michael Cohen for more than $500 million in damages, saying his former lawyer damaged his reputation by spreading falsehoods about him and releasing confidential information that he was contractually and legally required to keep secret. The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in US District Court in Miami, accuses Cohen of violating attorney-client privilege and breaching a confidentiality agreement “with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends.” The filing comes one week after Trump was arrested on a 34-count criminal indictment in New York City, where Cohen is expected to serve as a key witness to allegations that his then-boss falsified business records to cover up violations of election laws during his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen began breaching his fiduciary duty as Trump’s lawyer and violating his confidentiality agreement around 2018, when he was facing federal charges for tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, the lawsuit claimed. The most “egregious” breaches occurred in Cohen’s two books and his podcast, the filing said. He also made multiple media appearances, accusing Trump of being racist and suggesting that he might turn over state secrets to America’s enemies to ward off prosecution. The lawsuit claimed Cohen used insider information about Trump and “numerous inflammatory and false statements” to unjustly enrich himself. He also allegedly overstated his expenses as a Trump employee, claiming $74,000 in fictitious costs.

A $130,000 hush-money payment that Cohen allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump is at the center of the New York criminal case against the former president. Prosecutors claim that Trump falsely reported the cost as a legal expense. Trump’s lawsuit alleged that Cohen decided on his own to pay off Daniels to keep silent about her claims of an affair with the billionaire real state mogul. Trump said he relied on Cohen’s legal advice and acted out of a desire to protect his family from “malicious and false claims” by Daniels. Cohen told CBS News earlier this month that the indictment against Trump is about accountability. “I should not be held accountable for Donald Trump’s dirty deeds,” he said. He added that the former president and “those in his orbit” should be held accountable “because it saves and it preserves democracy.”

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“.. it has fallen to become one of the least equal among any countries in the world that likes to consider themselves democracies.”

Ten Men, $1 Trillion, and the Personalization of American Capitalism (Schultz)

Capitalism has always been about the accumulation and the concentration of wealth. Marx and Engels first described that phenomena in their 1848 Communist Manifesto. Thomas Piketty has also reminded us of that. But what they never focused on was the personalization of wealth in capitalism and what that means for society. The latest rankings of the richest individuals in America reminds us of the persistence and personalization of wealth. Forbes just released its ranking of the richest individuals in the world. Topping the list is Frenchman Bernard Arnault of LVHM, the fashion and cosmetics empire, with a net wealth of $211 billion. Yet if we focus simply the ten wealthiest in the world, seven of them are located in the US, with a combined wealth of $786 billion. The ten richest Americans, including the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, total $1 trillion dollars.

And this list does not even include the Waltons who own the Walmart empire or the Koch family. Of the twenty-five richest individuals in the world seventeen are American. For some this is God Bless America! It is the story of the American dream where any of us can become billionaires, or if all else fails, at least millionaires. Yes while the US has the greatest number of billionaires in the world and perhaps the greatest density of billionaires per capita, it’s Gini coefficient, which measures economic inequality on a scale of 0 (totally equality) to 100 (extreme inequality), has fallen from 0.39 in 1970 to 0.43 in 1990 to 0.49 in 2022. While the US was never an economically egalitarian nation, at least in recent history, it has fallen to become one of the least equal among any countries in the world that likes to consider themselves democracies.

Combine this with the decline in social mobility in the US that is getting progressively worse by generation, and it is hard to conclude that the American Dream does exist except for a few. Capitalism has always been personalized, especially in the US. It was once the story of the Vanderbilts, Duponts, Carnegies, and the Rockefellers who made money in railroads, finance, or oil. They made billions at the expense of the workers whom they exploit, and then we lionize the latter as heroes and beg for their money when they created charitable trusts or foundations. We view them as benevolent and generous, forgetting how they made their money. They were literally the faces of nineteenth and twentieth century American capitalism. Today’s personification is Silicon Valley, social media, and tech. In addition to Musk, Bezos, Ellison, and Bloomberg, it is also Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page, and Steve Ballmer. It is still an American plutocracy, except the nature of the capitalist wealth and their faces have changed.

But we should not forget the other faces of American capitalism These are the faces that John Steinbeck talked of in his Grapes of Wrath to Michael Harington’s The Other America to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed to apropos Faces of Povertythe documentary. We have nearly thirty-eight million people officially in poverty, each a story of how the American dream is merely a dream for them. It is no coincidence that there is a connection between poverty and billionaires. The more that a fewer and fewer number of individuals are rich the greater the number of individuals who will be poor. Compare the $1 trillion in wealth for ten Americans to the fact that the bottom fifty percent of Americans—roughly 165 million individuals—have a combined wealth of $4.1 trillion. If your net worth is between $43,760 and $201,800, you are in the middle class. Once you get below the middle class, there is no net worth—individuals are in the hole and owe more than they own.

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Enlightenment vs globalism.

The Retreat From the Enlightenment Can be Stopped (BI)

The war that the Enlightenment is now having to fight to defend itself against the globalists seems like a David and Goliath match-up. Western state bureaucracies and the big companies that have infiltrated them are encircling their populations with propaganda, digital money, travel passes, renewed and more abhorrent sin stories and deepening poverty for the many, while ‘the bosses’ get richer. Mainstream media colludes by vomiting out a steady stream of exaggerated emergencies, ranging from climate change to Chinese hegemony to nitrogen pollution, to keep the population distracted, fearful, and docile. Our health systems push anxiety and big companies’ specious products rather than helping populations to become healthier, while our educational institutions have embarked upon an all-out war on patriotism and cultural unity, which ordinarily would be natural counterbalances to globalism. Our schools produce traumatised children, alienated from each other and their parents, unable to engage in critical thinking. Social media circuitry wires it all together by enabling rapid communication of agitprop and fear. The Enlightenment is in full retreat.


Bright spots exist. We’ve seen Elon Musk break ranks with other billionaires by opening the door just a crack on Twitter to permit reasoned debate. But even this was a pyrrhic victory, considering that Twitter’s advertising revenue dropped 71 percent in December 2022 when more than half of the company’s top 1,000 advertisers pulled the plug amid a concerted pushback from Big Business. The EU turned its censorious Twitter thumbscrews tighter, with not a whimper of protest from the US government for this blatant disregard for the US Constitution. Indeed, it is clear Washington is telling those EU bureaucrats what censorship to enforce in the US. Still, scratch a little deeper and you will find reasons for optimism if you, like us, are working and hoping for a new Enlightenment. Here we discuss five.

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“The tests are cheap and dispositive. We can fix this in a New York minute, but nobody wants to know the answer.”

The COVID Vaccines Were Never Tested for Safety (Kirsch)

There were 31.2% higher deaths in the “gold standard” Pfizer Phase 3 clinical trials. There is only one way to know whether or not the vaccine caused any of the deaths in the 21 vaccinated patients who died: proper histopathology. Pfizer never did it and the FDA never asked for it. This was the biggest mistake in the pandemic and nobody has acknowledged that or lifted a finger to correct it (as I point out below). Had they done the proper testing on the 21 deaths, the vaccine would never have been approved. In lieu of the proper tests, there were assurances from Pfizer that nobody died from the vaccine. That’s absurd. We need the tests, not assurances. The tests are cheap and dispositive.

We can fix this in a New York minute, but nobody wants to know the answer. Today, only Ryan Cole is doing the proper histopathology and in 100% of the cases he’s been asked to look at, he can attribute the deaths to the vaccine. Someday, I hope that we’ll have leadership at the CDC that is not corrupt and that will ask Medical examiners to do the proper tests. This can literally happen instantly. For example, the CDC says that tomorrow, every Medical Examiner in the US should do histopathology looking for the vaccine as a cause of death on the next person who dies. This is no big extra burden for a medical examiner… just a few extra steps.

Or they can ask just a few medical examiners in highly vaccinated regions to run the extra tests on everyone who has an autopsy for the next 30 days (and to make sure that everyone who “dies suddenly” gets an autopsy done). The bottom line is this: we could almost instantly have proof of whether the vaccine is safe and effective or not and the costs in time and money is de minimis. The CDC is simply not interested in finding the truth about the vaccines, even though their job is to protect America from health threats.

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But the oath… Sue them all.

Doctors Received Millions in Bonuses for Vaccinating Medicaid Patients (CHD)

The federal government and insurers incentivized healthcare providers in Kentucky and California to vaccinate Medicaid patients against COVID-19 by offering bonuses based on the percentage of patients successfully vaccinated. “[This is] truly sickening and I am embarrassed for my profession by this,” Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist and biological warfare epidemiologist, wrote on her Substack, where she posted several documents relating to the COVID-19 vaccine provider incentive programs. The documents help to draw a picture of the broader effort at the federal, state and local levels to unleash a range of strategies targeting low-income and people-of-color communities, which tended to have lower vaccination rates.

The strategies included providing hundreds of millions of dollars for the creation of “culturally tailored” pro-vaccine materials and for training “trusted” and “influential messengers” to promote COVID-19 and flu vaccines to communities of color in every state. Nass’ revelations showed these efforts went beyond advertising, fear campaigns, payments to patients and payments to trusted community actors and included, in some cases, direct financial incentives to healthcare providers. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky told physicians in 2021 it would “recognize your hard work by offering incentives for helping patients make the choice to become vaccinated.” The more people vaccinated, the higher the per-person incentive.

For physicians who treated an Anthem Medicaid cohort with a minimum of 25 patients in their practice, Anthem Medicaid offered incentives for vaccination by Sept. 1, 2021, that ranged from a $20 bonus per vaccinated person for physicians who vaccinated 30% of the cohort, to $125 per vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 75% of the cohort, with several incremental steps in between. As time went on, the rates increased. Between Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, physicians received payments ranging from $100 per newly vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 30% of their patient cohort, to $250 per newly vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 75% of their patient cohort.

In 2022, the Anthem provider incentive program changed to a flat rate. Providers received $50 per newly vaccinated Medicaid patient. This included children ages 6 months to 4 years and kids 12 and older vaccinated between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, and children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2022. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on Aug. 6, 2021, announced $350 million in incentive payments — $250 million to providers and $100 million for direct non-monetary payments, such as gift cards, to vaccine recipients — to encourage vaccination among Medi-Cal’s 14 million beneficiaries. Of the $350 million, $175 million came from state general funds and $175 million from federal funding. The funding period lasted from Sept. 2, 2021, through Feb. 29, 2022.

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“The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $31 trillion and will grow another $19 trillion by 2033.”

US Government Borrows $6 Billion a Day (Whitehead)

We’re not living the American dream. We’re living a financial nightmare. The U.S. government is funding its existence with a credit card. The government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones being forced to foot the bill for the government’s fiscal insanity. According to the number crunchers with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the government is borrowing roughly $6 billion a day. As the Editorial Board for the Washington Post warns: “The nation has reached a hazardous moment where what it owes, as a percentage of the total size of the economy, is the highest since World War II. If nothing changes, the United States will soon be in an uncharted scenario that weakens its national security, imperils its ability to invest in the future, unfairly burdens generations to come, and will require cuts to critical programs such as Social Security and Medicare. It is not a future anyone wants.”

Let’s talk numbers, shall we? The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $31 trillion and will grow another $19 trillion by 2033. That translates to roughly $246,000 per taxpayer or $94,000 for every single person in the country. The bulk of that debt has been amassed over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the fiscal shenanigans of four presidents, 10 sessions of Congress and two wars. It’s estimated that the amount this country owes is now 130% greater than its gross domestic product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). In other words, the government is spending more than it brings in. The U.S. ranks as the 12th most indebted nation in the world, with much of that debt owed to the Federal Reserve, large investment funds and foreign governments, namely, Japan and China.

Interest payments on the national debt are estimated to top $395 billion this year, which is significantly more than the government spends on veterans’ benefits and services, and according to Pew Research Center, more than it will spend on elementary and secondary education, disaster relief, agriculture, science and space programs, foreign aid, and natural resources and environmental protection combined. According to the Committee for a Reasonable Federal Budget, the interest we’ve paid on this borrowed money is “nearly twice what the federal government will spend on transportation infrastructure, over four times as much as it will spend on K-12 education, almost four times what it will spend on housing, and over eight times what it will spend on science, space, and technology.” In ten years, those interest payments will exceed our entire military budget. This is financial tyranny.

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Gaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1646109211267416066

 

 

Fibonacci

 

 


The Konark Sun temple located in India, presents an iconography on a grand scale. It has 24 elaborately carved stone wheels which are nearly 3.7 m in diameter which are also sundials, and can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute

 

 

Octopuses
https://twitter.com/i/status/1645864294838419456

 

 

Murmuration
https://twitter.com/i/status/1646138779717992450

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 252023
 
 March 25, 2023  Posted by at 9:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


David Hockney Nichols Canyon 1980

 

Brazil To Propose Ukraine ‘Peace Club’ With China (RT)
The Iran-Saudi deal: A Bid To End Endless War (Shakil)
China’s Xi Has Sent ‘Very Troubling Message’ – Pentagon (RT)
There Could Be No Winner In War Between Russia, US – Medvedev (TASS)
Russia Warns Of Radioactive Disaster In Ukraine (RT)
EU Censorship Regime Is About To Go Global (Spiked)
Biden and the ICC: ‘A New Level of Farce’ (Patrick Lawrence)
Biden’s Nord Stream Cover-up Enters New Slippery Phase (Seymour Hersh)
Seymour Hersh Makes Claim Over Reasons For Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)
US Rulers Keep The Masses Divided And Distracted From Demanding Justice (Cox)
The Season is Here (Kunstler)
EU Is Melting Down And Contagion Spreading To UK Economy (Mitch Feierstein)
US Bank Trouble Heralds End Of Dollar Reserve System (David Goldman)
White House Worried Over Janet Yellen’s Fumbling Of US Bank Crisis (Gasparino)
Carbon War ‘Net Zero’ Would Starve Half the Planet (Celente)

 

 

 

 

McAfee

 

 

 

 

Suramin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639006754355683330

 

 

Remdesivir
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639319822667218944

 

 

Orthodox

 

 

Morons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brazil of course means BRICS. Next, bring in India. Their GDP(PPP) is already higher than G7. After that, all the countries who want to join BRICS. 60+% of world population, 60+% of GDP. Impossible to ignore.

Brazil To Propose Ukraine ‘Peace Club’ With China (RT)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will present his vision for an international “peace club” aimed at resolving the conflict in Ukraine when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week, his foreign minister told the Financial Times on Friday. Lula, who has remained neutral on the conflict, believes non-aligned nations like Brazil have the best chance of brokering a peace deal. “We are very interested in promoting or helping generate some kind of meeting that would lead to a peace process,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira told the newspaper. “The president has said so many times he hears a lot about war but very few words about peace. He is interested in peace conversations.”

Since defeating the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro in last October’s elections, Lula, as he is most commonly called, has largely stuck to his predecessor’s policy of neutrality on Ukraine. However, Lula has taken a more active role internationally than Bolsonaro, announcing in January that he intends to rally a G20-like group “to put an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.” “It is necessary to constitute a group with enough strength to be respected at a negotiating table, and sit down with both sides,” he said at the time. During his election campaign, Lula declared Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “as responsible as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for the war,” and condemned US and EU leaders for promising NATO membership to Ukraine.

Since taking office, the Brazilian leader has met with US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and has spoken by phone to Zelensky and Putin. Stressing the need to find “a way out to end this war” after meeting Biden last month, Lula’s calls for peace were echoed by China, which released its 12-point ‘Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’ two weeks afterwards. The Chinese plan was welcomed by Putin, but rejected by the US. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday described Beijing’s proposal as a “tactical move” to stall the conflict in Russia’s favor, while in Ukraine, Zelensky said last month that he only agrees with a handful of points in the document.

Any plan put forward by Lula and his potential “peace club” may be received the same way, as was the case when Mexico proposed a peace plan of its own at the United Nations last year. Ukrainian government adviser Mikhail Podoliak dismissed the Mexican proposal as a “Russian plan,” and Kiev released its own ten-point peace plan two months later. However, Kiev’s plan included demands that Russia cede the territory of Crimea to Ukraine and send its officials to war crimes tribunals, and as such was dismissed as a non-starter by Moscow.

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China did the Iran-Saudi deal. Russia is doing the same with Saudi-Syria. Get rid of the US, and peace becomes possible.

The Iran-Saudi deal: A Bid To End Endless War (Shakil)

The China-mediated Saudi-Iran peace agreement, inked on 10 March in Beijing, marks a significant geopolitical shift with far-reaching implications for the Persian Gulf and Iran’s neighboring countries. For decades, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in ideological and economic competition on the territories of their neighbors, causing regional tensions to escalate. If the agreement is successful and relations between Riyadh and Tehran improve as envisioned, tensions will likely begin to significantly subside in the Persian Gulf, Levant, and further afield in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan. The former, long concerned about its security and energy supply vulnerabilities, will potentially benefit from improved relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which could help address its oil and gas crises.

Similarly, Afghanistan, whose Taliban-led government is still struggling to gain international recognition and is in dire need of reconstruction and investment initiatives, may also benefit from the kingdom’s rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. An early litmus test for the Saudi-Iranian reconciliation will be its impact on Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, where a perceived proxy war has wreaked havoc on their respective economies and in their public spheres. One of the most critical areas where the impact of the peace agreement will be tested is Yemen, where Iran and Saudi Arabia have backed opposing sides in the country’s eight-year war. The conflict has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises after a Saudi-UAE-led coalition in 2015 launched military attacks against Yemen’s pro-Iran Ansarallah movement, which had seized control of the capital, Sanaa.

Iran’s permanent mission to the UN said in a statement that the Iran-Saudi deal will “accelerate the ceasefire, help start a national dialogue, and form an inclusive national government in Yemen.”

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“Xi’s visit to Putin and remaining there for a couple of days I think sends a very troubling message, a message of support..”

China’s Xi Has Sent ‘Very Troubling Message’ – Pentagon (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent state visit to Russia should be regarded as a matter of grave concern for Washington, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on Thursday. Speaking at the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on defense appropriations, Austin was asked to comment on Xi’s trip to Moscow, and its ramifications for Sino-US competition. “Xi’s visit to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and remaining there for a couple of days I think sends a very troubling message, a message of support,” the Pentagon chief replied. He stated that while the Pentagon has not seen signs that China had been providing Russia with military equipment for use against Ukraine, it is watching the situation “very closely,” cautioning that “if they were to go down that path, I think that would be very troubling for the international community.”

He went on to warn that if Xi decided to arm Moscow, “it would prolong the conflict and certainly broaden the conflict potentially – not only in the region, but globally.” On Monday, the Chinese leader embarked on a three-day state visit to Moscow, holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the summit, the two sides signed more than a dozen documents on increased defense, industrial and economic cooperation.Moscow and Beijing also pledged to “deepen relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction entering a new era.”

The US has claimed that China has been considering sending arms to Russia, while threatening “consequences” should it make such a move. Beijing, however, has dismissed such plans, accusing Washington of “spreading false information” and “fanning the flames” of the Ukraine conflict. “It is the United States and not China that is endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last month. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict more than a year ago, Western countries have supplied Kiev with large amounts of military equipment, with the US alone having committed more than $32.5 billion in security assistance. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that such support will only prolong the conflict while making it a direct participant in the hostilities.

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“..I would not speculate on whether one army is stronger than the other. A fighting army is a strong army..”

There Could Be No Winner In War Between Russia, US – Medvedev (TASS)

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned of the disastrous consequences of a potential confrontation between the armies of Russia and the United States. In an interview with Russian media outlets and users of leading Russian social media network VKontakte, Medvedev said, “The first thing is, only a real conflict can decide which army is first, second or 21st. Secondly, it would be wrong to say that the US army is No. 1, while ours is No.2 for one simple reason. If these armies start a war, how could we say who the winner is? Obviously, there will be no winner.”


A potential confrontation “would cause disastrous consequences,” the politician warned. “And it would be impossible to say whose army is superior,” he added. According to Medvedev, the US army could have been considered the best “at least during that period when it was active on the ground – as usual, not on its own soil, at that,” referring to the US occupation of Vietnam. He said he was shocked to learn that 3 million Vietnamese people had been killed in that conflict. “Therefore, I would not speculate on whether one army is stronger than the other. A fighting army is a strong army,” Medvedev concluded.

Conte

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“..reducing any export of agricultural produce from Ukrainian territory for many decades, if not centuries to come..”

Russia Warns Of Radioactive Disaster In Ukraine (RT)

The potential use of Western-supplied depleted uranium shells by Ukraine would have a devastating impact on the country’s economy and population, lasting for centuries to come, the Russian Defense Ministry warned on Friday. Speaking at a briefing, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who is in charge of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, issued a scathing criticism of the UK’s plans to support Kiev with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. He noted that such munitions have only ever been deployed in combat by NATO countries, most notably during the Iraq War, when the US used at least 300 tons of depleted uranium.

“As a result, the radiation situation in the [Iraqi] city of Fallujah was much worse than in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear bombings by the United States,” Kirillov stated, recalling that Fallujah had been dubbed “the second Chernobyl,” while the local population suffered from a skyrocketing number of cancer cases. The West is well aware of the consequences of using such weapons, the general stressed. Even though it “will cause irreparable harm” to the health of Ukrainian troops and civilians, “NATO countries, in particular the UK, express a readiness to supply this type of weapon to the Kiev regime,” Kirillov stated.

He warned that the use of the munitions will contaminate farmland. “In addition to infecting its own population, this will cause tremendous economic damage to the agro-industrial complex of Ukraine… reducing any export of agricultural produce from Ukrainian territory for many decades, if not centuries to come,” the general said. The UK’s plans to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine for use with Challenger 2 battle tanks were first unveiled on Monday, prompting an outcry from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which called the move a sign of “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity” on the part of London and Washington. While the US has said it does not plan to support Ukraine with such ammunition, it shrugged off Russian concerns over the matter, describing depleted uranium shells as “a commonplace type of munition” which has “been in use for decades.”

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“..the DSA includes a ‘crisis-management mechanism’, added last year in a last-minute amendment. The Commission argued it needs to be able to direct how platforms respond to events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine..”

EU Censorship Regime Is About To Go Global (Spiked)

Not many people know that 16 November 2022 was the day that freedom of speech died on the internet. This was the day the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into law. Under the DSA, very large online platforms (VLOPs) with more than 45million monthly active users – like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will have to swiftly remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. Or they will face fines of up to six per cent of their annual global revenue. Larger platforms must be DSA compliant by this summer, while smaller platforms will be obliged to tackle this content from 2024 onwards. The ramifications of this are immense. Not only will the DSA now enforce the regulation of content on the internet for the first time, but it is also set to become a global standard, not just a European one.

In recent years, the EU has largely realised its ambition to become a global regulatory superpower. The EU can dictate how any company worldwide must behave if it wants to operate in Europe, the world’s second-largest market. As a result, its strict regulatory standards often end up being adopted worldwide by both firms and other regulators, in what is known as the ‘Brussels effect’. Take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a privacy law which came into force in May 2018. Among many other things, it requires individuals to give explicit consent before their data can be processed. These EU regulations have since become the global standard, and the same could now happen for the DSA.

The EU’s enforcement of GDPR has been somewhat tentative. It has issued only about €1.7 billion in penalties since 2018, according to The Economist, which is peanuts in an industry that generates more than a trillion euros in revenue annually. But the EU seems to have learnt from this: the DSA has enormous enforcement capabilities built into it. The European Commission expects its internal industry watchdog to have over 100 full-time staff by 2024. Plus, contract workers and national experts will be expected to supervise Big Tech’s operations, too. It amounts to what EU internal-markets commissioner Thierry Breton calls a ‘historic moment in digital regulation’. The VLOPS are expected to fund this enforcement operation themselves, paying up to 0.05 per cent of their global annual turnover each year to the Commission.

This gives the EU an extraordinary amount of power. The regulation of the DSA will be overseen by the Commission itself, not an independent regulator. What’s more, the DSA includes a ‘crisis-management mechanism’, added last year in a last-minute amendment. The Commission argued it needs to be able to direct how platforms respond to events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Apparently, in a crisis, the ‘anticipatory or voluntary nature’ of obligations on tech companies to tackle disinformation would be insufficient. Under the DSA, the Commission has given itself the power to determine whether such a ‘crisis’ exists, defined as ‘an objective risk of serious prejudice to public security or public health in the Union’.

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“..simple issues of legal procedure, of due process, are no longer allowed to stand in the way when a demand to do something of this nature appears.”

Biden and the ICC: ‘A New Level of Farce’ (Patrick Lawrence)

There was talk among the Western powers for most of last year, readers may recall, of the U.N. forming a special court to try Putin and other Russian officials on charges of war crimes allegedly committed in the course of the Ukraine conflict. But Washington and its allies overestimated international sentiment: They could get no appreciable support among member states for any such project. They similarly failed when, as an alternative, they tried to get the U.N. General Assembly to authorize the ICC, a U.N. body, to investigate the numerous allegations of war crimes leveled since the start of hostilities in February 2022. It was at this point that the West—reportedly led by Britain—began an intense lobbying campaign at The Hague to get the ICC to act even without a U.N. referral behind it. The arrest warrant announced last Friday appears to be the result of this pressure.

The legalities here are important. While Russia is not a signatory to the ICC’s founding treaty, a U.N. referral such as the U.S. and its allies sought would extend the court’s jurisdiction even to nations that do not recognize it. This is why the Western powers spent all those months trying to bring the General Assembly around. Is our conclusion other than obvious? The ICC’s action last week has no sound legal basis, and the court has no jurisdiction over a nation that does not recognize it. “But as we have seen on so many occasions, over so many matters in the past few years,” Alexander Mercouris observed in an informed webcast over the weekend, “simple issues of legal procedure, of due process, are no longer allowed to stand in the way when a demand to do something of this nature appears.”

The charges of criminal abduction and forced deportation of children appear to be equally flimsy. The Russian Federation has made no secret of its effort to remove thousands of children from harm’s way over the past year. Some of these children were parentless and living in orphanages, by the Russian account; when parental consent was involved, the Russians running the program say they had it. These children, not to be missed, were removed from areas under constant artillery bombardment from Ukrainian forces in the eight years following the U.S.–cultivated coup in 2014.

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I think this is the Hersh piece that was behind a paywall.

Biden’s Nord Stream Cover-up Enters New Slippery Phase (Seymour Hersh)

It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new US$11 billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany. The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US. Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.

Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps. There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea. [..] In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events—a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations.

The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time. There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government. But I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version of the destruction of Nord Stream 2. In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was to “pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction.

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Pepe Escobar tweets it was not Scholz, but Robert Habeck. He’s the vice-chancellor, from the Green Party(!).

Pepe Escobar: “Sy Hersh’s sources told him that it was during a one-hour Biden-Scholz meeting that the CIA plan was concocted – to plant the Ukrainian group story as a misdirection to cover up the US blowing up the Nord Streams. It was HABECK, not Scholz who discussed this on site with Biden.”

“A Biden-HABECK meeting green lit the whole Nord Stream scam + misdirection. Scholz knew what HABECK was doing. These revelations WILL explode. And they will bring down both Biden and liver sausage Scholz. This may well end up as Sy Hersh’s greatest scoop.”

Seymour Hersh Makes Claim Over Reasons For Nord Stream Sabotage (RT)

US President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed. Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday. “The [US] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [forward for Kiev]. That’s all. I don’t know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.

Despite attempts by the US to deny its involvement in the Nord Stream attack, “Europe is in crisis now” and Biden will receive “a lot of criticism for what he did” in the coming months, the journalist argued. The Pulitzer Prize winner alleged that “the people that were initially asked to do the job” of destroying the pipelines were contacted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan towards the end of 2021. The initial purpose of mining Nord Stream 1 and 2, built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, was “to give the [US] president an option to say to [Russian] President Putin, ‘If you go to war [in Ukraine], we’re going to destroy the pipelines,’” Hersh claimed. Biden himself publicly confirmed that stance but “unfortunately, those people in the Western press seemed to have forgotten,” the journalist stated.

Just under three weeks before the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Biden warned during a press conference on February 7 that “if Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” According to Hersh, the US leader decided to order the detonation of mines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last September because the conflict “wasn’t going great in Ukraine” from a US perspective. There was “at best a stalemate” during that period, in what Hersh described as “the American war that President Biden was so eager to support.”

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”Their “leaders” are all on the same team, the one that keeps the masses warring with each other rather than turning their pitchforks and torches against the ruling class..”

US Rulers Keep The Masses Divided And Distracted From Demanding Justice (Cox)

Washington is where securing political power means never having to say you’re sorry – regardless of how many thousands or millions of people you might have gotten killed. Tribalism is what keeps the perpetrators from ever being held accountable. Consider, for example, this month’s Axios/Ipsos poll showing that more than six in ten US adults believe that George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake. While it might seem encouraging that most Americans have come to realize that the Iraq debacle was a bad move – sort of like recognizing that the sun comes up in the East – a glance beneath the headline number reveals that voters haven’t really learned anything. You see, two decades on from a war that was started on false pretenses and was illegal under the UN Charter, 58% of Republicans still believe that the Bush administration was right to launch the invasion (compared to 26% of Democrats).

They still feel this way despite a bevy of troubling truths that should be clear to everyone by now, including the fact that the whole basis for the invasion – the hype that Saddam Hussein had obtained weapons of mass destruction – was a sham. It was a sham that cost US taxpayers over $2 trillion, helped give rise to ISIS and killed or maimed tens of thousands of American troops. Along the way, this bogus war also killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left the country shattered, even to the present day. The cherry on top is that it also strengthened Washington’s arch-enemy, Iran. It’s almost incomprehensible that any Americans, other than the war criminals themselves, would still defend such a fiasco – unless one factors in the level of tribalism that currently pervades the US political system.

Rank-and-file members of the red team and the blue team can see no evil nor hear no evil when it comes to their tribe. Their “leaders” are all on the same team, the one that keeps the masses warring with each other rather than turning their pitchforks and torches against the ruling class. No one was punished for the Afghan debacle. Biden, Blinken and the Pentagon brass still refuse to admit to any mistakes. The only person fired over the withdrawal was Stuart Scheller, the Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who dared to publicly criticize the evacuation and call for senior officials to be held accountable. He was court-martialed for his temerity.

Meanwhile, the so-called experts in Washington continue advancing their careers, regardless of how many lives they destroy. It’s a town where Victoria Nuland can play a key advisory role in the Bush administration’s Iraq debacle, help engineer the Obama-Biden administration’s overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 – setting the table for the current crisis in Eastern Europe – then land a job as the Biden administration’s undersecretary of state. It’s also where former secretary of state Madeleine Albright can say in a television interview that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children resulting from US sanctions were “worth it” – then be eulogized by three presidents upon her death last year and praised by Biden for her “humanity.”

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“..everybody… the formerly Woke, the unvaxxed, the penitent and unrepentant, the middle and lower orders especially, who suffer most harshly… will find themselves all on one side of that line in opposition to the wicked who have brought a hard rain upon them..”

The Season is Here (Kunstler)

Expect three evolving dynamics to stipulate our country’s zeitgeist in the stirring months to come. First, the collapse of our project for using Ukraine to destabilize Russia, an enterprise so feckless it could have only been conceived by the dead-of-brain. Our geniuses of foreign affairs screwed the pooch on this one. It’s almost too obvious that they never cared about the people of that sore-beset land. Notice, they do not even use the word “peace” in any of their confabulations about what’s going on there, because it is the opposite of what they seek, which is…chaos unending. Thus, others will end the project for us — namely, our antagonist there, Russia — and the regime of “Joe Biden,” for the second time in its mortifying two years-plus of rule, will be left holding its limp, generative member in its collective hand, another humiliation for our over-reaching imperial soldiery — and the deluded empty suits commanding it.

Will they be able to pretend this time, as they did in Afghanistan, 2021, that there’s nothing to see here, folks? Just a blizzard of press-releases declaring “mission accomplished” or some-such other craven bullshit? I don’t think so. The reaction may be enough to bum-rush “Joe Biden” and Company out of office. His grotesque family rackets (including the Ukraine grifts) will finally and magically come to the public’s attention, and that’ll be all she wrote for “JB”— except for the historians waking from their own long catatonic spells to record the disaster they will swear they couldn’t see coming. Next, we will go through the tipping-point where a critical mass of the population — not just in America, but throughout Western Civ, and even beyond — realizes that they have been poisoned and injured by the mRNA “vaccines” they were so eager to line up for.

It will produce a special sort of collective agony centered around a raging despair that leads with astonishing speed to prosecutions. The torpor and uncertainty of the past three years evaporates and the machinery of law actually starts cranking again, and in the right way — not as a mere instrument of coercion and intimidation, but to actually seek justice. Third will be the transformation of a raging inflation into a ruinous debt deflation that leaves Americans, one way or another, with no money. At the same time, the people will wake to the wrecking of their energy and food supply. A line will appear drawn in the ground from sea to shining sea, as by a cosmic power, and everybody… the formerly Woke, the unvaxxed, the penitent and unrepentant, the middle and lower orders especially, who suffer most harshly… will find themselves all on one side of that line in opposition to the wicked who have brought a hard rain upon them. And there you will finally see the beginning of your long-promised hope and change. No need even to wait for it. At long last, it’s upon us.

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“As interest rates continue rising, to fight inflation, razor-sharp needles are popping up in every direction.”

EU Is Melting Down And Contagion Spreading To UK Economy (Mitch Feierstein)

In 2008, the Bank of England’s Mervyn King began quantitative easing (QE) and bank bailouts. Increased debt levels devalued British pound sterling by 34 percent vs. the US Dollar. Sterling has not recovered since. In 2013, George Osborne hired central bank “rock star” Mark Carney to replace King. Carney maintained misguided ‘easy money’ interest rate policies through 2020. Zero Interest Rate Policy set the table for more dire future economic downturns far worse than the Great Financial Crisis. Carney inflated asset bubbles across UK markets, the most prominent bubble was in the UK’s commercial and residential property markets. As interest rates continue rising, to fight inflation, razor-sharp needles are popping up in every direction. When variable rate mortgages reset, a credit event will impair banks’ asset quality and impact our financial system.

King’s QE devaluation, Carney’s asset bubbles, and Boris and Rishi’s COVID money printing have caused the most significant cost of living crisis in UK history. Last week, the USA’s Silicon Valley Bank failed because it did not manage its risks. SVB made lending, business, and employment decisions that prioritised social justice, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), ahead of profitability! So, what happened? SVB – Got woke & went broke. EU and USA Bank failures bode poorly for the UK. UK taxpayers still own NatWest bank shares from Kings 2008 bank bailouts. Biden, Yellen, and UK regulators promised that SVB depositor bailouts: “Will not cost taxpayers anything.” The US Fed created a $2.5 TRILLION bailout fund calling it a Bank Term Funding Program or “BTFP.”

BTFP is highly inflationary QE and the program signals a de facto nationalisation of the banking system. Was SVB a “one off”? Not at all, in fact, later that week, Credit Suisse went bust. Despite the “The banking system is sound, it’s all fine”, mantra from those responsible for this mess, continued currency declines, bank failures, bankruptcies and defaults are likely. What dishonest diversions will the media unwittingly spread? The blame shifting for the coming credit crisis will include: COVID, Russia, Putin, the Climate Emergency! Arrest Trump! Bring Back Boris from his £4m speaking tour, implement CBDCs.

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“Bank credit quality today is the best in a generation. The crisis stems from the now-impossible task of financing America’s ever-expanding foreign debt.”

US Bank Trouble Heralds End Of Dollar Reserve System (David Goldman)

The US banking system is broken. That doesn’t portend more high-profile failures like Credit Suisse. The central banks will keep moribund institutions on life support. But the era of dollar-based reserves and floating exchange rates that began on August 15, 1971, when the US severed the link between the dollar and gold, is coming to an end. The pain will be transferred from the banks to the real economy, which will starve for credit. And the geopolitical consequences will be enormous. The seize-up of dollar credit will accelerate the shift to a multipolar reserve system, with advantage to China’s RMB as a competitor to the dollar.

Gold, the “barbarous relic” abhorred by John Maynard Keynes, will play a bigger role because the dollar banking system is dysfunctional, and no other currency—surely not the tightly-controlled RMB—can replace it. Now at an all-time record price of US$2,000 an ounce, gold is likely to rise further. The greatest danger to dollar hegemony and the strategic power that it imparts to Washington is not China’s ambition to expand the international role of the RMB. The danger comes from the exhaustion of the financial mechanism that made it possible for the US to run up a negative $18 trillion net foreign asset position during the past 30 years.

Germany’s flagship institution, Deutsche Bank, hit an all-time low of 8 euros on the morning of March 24, before recovering to 8.69 euros at the end of that day’s trading, and its credit default swap premium—the cost of insurance on its subordinated debt—spiked to about 380 basis points above LIBOR, or 3.8%. That’s as much as during the 2008 banking crisis and the 2015 European financial crisis, although not quite as much as during the March 2020 Covid lockdown, when the premium exceeded 5%. Deutsche Bank won’t fail, but it may need official support. It may have received such support already. This crisis is utterly unlike 2008, when banks levered up trillions of dollars of dodgy assets based on “liar’s loans” to homeowners. Fifteen years ago, the credit quality of the banking system was rotten and leverage was out of control. Bank credit quality today is the best in a generation. The crisis stems from the now-impossible task of financing America’s ever-expanding foreign debt.

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“On one hand they’re kind of stuck with her; it would be bad to get rid of a Treasury Secretary during a banking crisis..” “On the other hand, they know they don’t have anyone good to be their face in terms of a response.”

White House Worried Over Janet Yellen’s Fumbling Of US Bank Crisis (Gasparino)

Janet Yellen is once again on thin ice inside the Biden Administration over her bungling of the banking crisis that keeps roiling markets, The Post has learned. The question is when will Sleepy Joe & Co. finally act? They need to put Yellen out of her misery and end ours by handing her job to someone who knows how to deal with the very real possibility of banks failing on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis and a possible deep recession. As we have reported, the political types in the White House — the people that craft messaging and give input on cabinet choices — have been increasingly wary of Yellen’s ability to do the job despite her expansive resume and years running the Fed, people with direct knowledge tell the Post.

They grew sour over her bungled response to inflation (recall how she said it was transitory as it was exploding). It’s why they floated possible replacements last year, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America. Both are seen as policy heavyweights. Unlike Yellen, they have real-world business experience (Yellen’s been in academia and government throughout her career). Yet she survived that attempt to get her removed because her ultimate boss, the president, didn’t want to fire a woman in such a high-profile post, these people say. Sleepy Joe might not have much choice now given the growing severity of what she and the country are facing: The collapse of large regional banks Silicon Valley and Signature banks. First Republic, with more than $200 billion in assets, is on the precipice.


Credit Suisse nearly imploded and was forced to merge with its Swiss neighbor, UBS. On Friday, investors began freaking out about another European banking giant, Deutsche Bank and began predicting its failure. Yellen’s response to this has been bewildering from a messaging standpoint. White House advisers are pointing to her multiple flip-flops on whether the government will back up all deposits in a failed bank — even those well past the FDIC insurance threshold of $250,000. I get it, she doesn’t want people to pull money out of regional banks at just the hint of weakness, but what she is saying lacks credulity. Will the federal government or the underfunded FDIC insurance fund really cover a deposit of more than a million dollars?

Another criticism: Her slow-walking the possible severity of weakness in the plumbing of banks as failures begin to pile up. She says the system is safe and secure, but it’s obviously not. Years of historical and super-low interest rates distort asset values and risk-taking, and banks can’t be immune from the consequences. “On one hand they’re kind of stuck with her; it would be bad to get rid of a Treasury Secretary during a banking crisis,” said one of my sources, who works at a large DC-based think-tank and has heard the griping firsthand. “On the other hand, they know they don’t have anyone good to be their face in terms of a response.” [..] ..check your calendar: We’re going on week three of a fast-moving banking contagion that could spark a significant recession if banks collapse en masse and lending dries up, so whatever she’s doing is still far too late.

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“..nitrogen fertilizer [derived from fossil fuels] now supports approximately half of the global population.”

Carbon War ‘Net Zero’ Would Starve Half the Planet (Celente)

That victory Dutch farmers just won in provincial elections might literally save the world. After massive demonstrations against government targeting of nitrogen fertilizers to fulfill a UN zero carbon agenda, the BBB (BoerBurgerBeweging or “Farmer-Citizen Movement”) party picked up a significant bloc of senate seats. It was a major rejection of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s environmental policies, as Reuters reported in “Dutch farmers’ protest party scores big election win, shaking up Senate.” According to a final tally reported by Eva Vlaardingerbroek on 19 March, the number of seats gained was 17, more than enough to turn back environmental directives that would destroy the Dutch farming sector. But the significance is far greater than just farmer livelihoods in the Netherlands.

Nitrogen fertilizers are crucial to sustaining the world’s food supply, and banning their use as part of “net-zero” carbon goals could literally starve half the world. That’s the warning of a new report called “Challenging ‘Net Zero’ with Science,” compiled by two longtime pre-eminent climates scientists, William Happer, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, of Princeton University, and Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science, Emeritus, of MIT. The report was released by co2coalition.org. It says that extreme goals of the so-called “green energy” movement are built on decidedly unscientific premises. And they make no bones about the disastrous consequences that would result from following a course that continues to try to phase out the use of nitrogen fertilizers:

“As to the disastrous consequences of eliminating fossil fuels, it ‘is estimated that nitrogen fertilizer [derived from fossil fuels] now supports approximately half of the global population.’ As one of us (Happer) has made clear, without the ‘use of inorganic fertilizers’ derived from fossil fuels, the world ‘will not achieve the food supply needed to support 8.5 to 10 billion people.’ The authors cited Sri Lanka as a cautionary example of how devastating this one facet of the “zero carbon” agenda is already playing out: “The recent experience in Sri Lanka provides a red alert. ‘The world has just witnessed the collapse of the once bountiful agricultural sector of Sri Lanka as a result of government restrictions on mineral fertilizer.’5 The government of Sri Lanka banned the use of fossil fuel derived nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, with disastrous consequences on food supply there. If similarly misguided decisions are made eliminating fossil fuels and thus nitrogen fertilizer, there will be a starvation crisis worldwide.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Catfight
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639175659418435584

 

 

Pandas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1639163711280562176

 

 

Octopi

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1639400762068582401

 

 

 

 

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Mar 242023
 


Gustav Klimt Pine forest II 1901

 

US Facing New Global Reality Post Xi-Putin Summit, Says Expert (TASS)
US ‘Uneasy’ About China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine – Media (RT)
Pompeo Warns Of Biden Administration’s ‘Enormous’ Mistake (RT)
The ‘Junior Partner’ Meme Gives No Insight To Real Changes (MoA)
‘The United States of America Is Our Enemy,’ Says Medvedev (TASS)
Medvedev Says Diplomacy Doesn’t Always Work, Special Op Was Right Move (TASS)
Effects Of Depleted Uranium In Ukraine Cannot Be Controlled – Zakharova (TASS)
Nato Chief: West Must Brace To Support Ukraine In A Long War (G.)
Ukraine Deployed Over 80,000 Servicemen Around Bakhmut – Prigozhin (TASS)
Ukraine Welcomes ICC Office (RT)
Hungary Says It Won’t Arrest Putin (RT)
House Judiciary Committee Expands Probe Into Alvin Bragg (PM)
CIA Planted Nord Stream Stories in NYT, German Outlets – Hersh (Celente)
Biden Played Direct Role in Addressing Hunter’s Business Deals (Turley)
FOIA Document Shows Government Anticipated Mass Vaccine Injuries (Horowitz)

 

 

 

 

Marseille
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638887827999174656

 

 

OZ

 

 

 

 

Blinken
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638925911905955841

 

 

AI

 

 

 

 

“..the US and the entire West have to consider this rapidly changing international environment, and that it may be better to cooperate with it, rather than to lose more and more influence by opposing this peace plan..”

US Facing New Global Reality Post Xi-Putin Summit, Says Expert (TASS)

A German political activist urged the United States and its Western allies to pay heed to rapid changes underway in the international arena following Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit. In an interview with TASS on Wednesday, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the US-based Schiller Institute, said that China’s peace proposal “is not only endorsed by Russia, but is supported by the entire Global South.” “The initial reaction of [US] President [Joe] Biden was to reject it, as did some other leaders of the EU. But it is now becoming clear to the whole world who is trying to establish peace, and who is trying to prolong and escalate the war,” Zepp-LaRouche emphasized, when asked whether the Chinese leader’s visit to Russia could usher in peace in Ukraine.

According to her, Western establishments “are still completely underestimating the reality that there is a powerful renaissance of the non-aligned spirit occurring right now.” “The countries of the Global South are determined to end colonialism for good in its new cloth, and they do not want to be drawn into a geopolitical conflict between the US and Russia, or between the US and China, with whom many of them have very beneficial economic ties,” she underscored. Zepp-LaRouche praised as spectacular China’s diplomatic success “in getting Saudi Arabia and Iran to return to diplomacy and cooperation,” and said that Beijing had proven that “it can be a surprising peacemaker.” “So, the US and the entire West have to consider this rapidly changing international environment, and that it may be better to cooperate with it, rather than to lose more and more influence by opposing this peace plan,” she noted.

In February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a position paper on a political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. The twelve-point document includes calls for a ceasefire, respect for the legitimate interests of all countries in the field of security, settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the exchange of prisoners of war between Moscow and Kiev, as well as the cancellation of unilateral sanctions imposed without a corresponding decision of the UN Security Council. In the published document, China described dialogue and negotiations as the sole way of resolving the crisis in Ukraine and called on all parties to support Moscow and Kiev in “moving toward each other”, urging a resumption of direct dialogue as soon as possible. The world community should create conditions and provide a platform for the resumption of talks, the document emphasized.

Following talks with Xi on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that many provisions of China’s peace plan on Ukraine could be used as a basis for the conflict settlement whenever the West and Kiev were ready for that. At the same time, he pointed out that so far, “no such readiness” could be seen.

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“..with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claiming that China does not have “much credibility” on the issue..”

US ‘Uneasy’ About China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine – Media (RT)

There is a “sense of unease” in the White House about the consequences of its dismissal of the Chinese peace plan for Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed official in the administration of President Joe Biden. In February, the US publicly brushed off the roadmap for peace presented by China for the conflict between Russia and its neighbor. However, Bloomberg reported that Washington now fears it could be “backed into a corner” by Beijing’s proposals, with the Biden administration said to be concerned that it has created the impression that the US does not want peace. America’s stance could be used by Beijing to convince nations that are weary of the conflict that the US has no interest in ending the hostilities, Bloomberg added.

“China will likely ramp up messaging that the US is opposed to a ceasefire, that the US is opposed to the end of the war,” former Pentagon official Bonny Lin, who is now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the media outlet. The Bloomberg report follows a three-day visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow this week, during which he held extensive talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Moscow had previously welcomed the Chinese peace initiative for Ukraine, and during this week’s talks Putin expressed his readiness to discuss and build upon it. He also reiterated that Moscow is willing to seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

The peace plan presented by China called for the resumption of talks between Moscow and Kiev. It also condemned unilateral sanctions, and urged the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations to be upheld. Along with Washington, other Western powers largely brushed off the initiative, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claiming that China does not have “much credibility” on the issue. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did later admit that the plan includes “positive elements.” Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Biden administration for failing to prevent what he described as a “wedding” between Moscow and Beijing. Downplaying the increasingly close ties between Russia and China “is an enormous strategic mistake,” Pompeo insisted.

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“They have allowed the Russians and the Chinese to come together in this way and it presents enormous risk to the US and every citizen..”

Pompeo Warns Of Biden Administration’s ‘Enormous’ Mistake (RT)

The Biden administration is making “an enormous strategic mistake” by downplaying the importance of rapidly expanding Russia-China ties, Mike Pompeo, who served as US secretary of state under Donald Trump, has said. The alliance between Moscow and Beijing “may be a shotgun wedding, but they’re still married,” Pompeo told Fox News on Wednesday. “To hear the White House play this down as if it’s insignificant or unimportant is an enormous strategic mistake,” he said. Pompeo, who was speaking hours after Chinese Xi Jinping concluded his landmark visit to Moscow, where multiple deals were signed, stressed that China has been “getting energy at a discounted price” from Russia.

“Think about that. American manufacturing companies are paying full freight for energy today and the Chinese are getting a 15, 20% discount on each barrel of oil, allowing them to continue to dump their products here in America,” he explained. The former secretary of state also claimed that “at least for today, the Chinese Communist Party is providing lethal assistance to Ukraine, almost certainly.” He was apparently referring to Russian forces fighting Ukraine, not Kiev itself. Weapons for Ukraine are being provided by the US and its NATO allies, together with funds, intelligence and training for troops. Beijing has previously denied claims that it’s supplying or planning to supply arms to Moscow amid its conflict with Kiev, calling such allegations by Washington “false.”

Russia has also insisted that it relies on locally made weaponry in its military operation. “Now, the Biden administration has failed. They have allowed the Russians and the Chinese to come together in this way and it presents enormous risk to the US and every citizen,” Pompeo continued. Commenting on Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he didn’t believe that there was an alliance between Moscow and Beijing, reiterating his earlier suggestion that it was just “marriage of convenience.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sees “a potential backer” in Xi, but “whether it results in anything, we’ll see,” Kirby remarked during a briefing on Tuesday.

Read more …

“..changes “the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.”

“A hundred years ago the world had just seen off a big war. Four big empires, the Russian, German, Austria-Hungarian and the Ottoman had suddenly vanished. The U.S. had stepped onto the international scene..”

The ‘Junior Partner’ Meme Gives No Insight To Real Changes (MoA)

Is there really a ‘junior partner’ in the Russian Chinese relations? Does Russia really need China more than China needs Russia? Well, who of two, Russia and China, has all the stuff that is needed for a modern life? I mean energy, minerals, commodities, foodstuff plus the abilities to retrieve and process all of them into useful products. It is obvious that Russia has all this stuff right within its borders. China, on the other side, is mostly importing these things through rather fragile sea routes. China has a naval problem that can only be solved with Russian weapons. So who is really in need of whom? China has obviously more people than Russia. But for all the Chinese riches these are still less well off than the people in Russia.

On purchase power parity base (PPP) Russia’s GDP per capita in 2022 was $31,962 while China’s was $21,291. When the Russian GDP per capita is 50% higher than the Chinese one can it really be a ‘junior partner’ in this? I don’t think so. I believe that Russia and China see themselves as equals. That is certainly true for the relation between President Putin and President Xi. Two equals who together do great things: As he left a state reception at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping turned to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and said the world was undergoing changes “the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” “And we are the ones driving these changes together,” he said. “I agree,” Putin replied, shaking hands with the Chinese leader in an exchange that was captured on camera.

A hundred years ago the world had just seen off a big war. Four big empires, the Russian, German, Austria-Hungarian and the Ottoman had suddenly vanished. The U.S. had stepped onto the international scene. In China the Kuomintang and the Communists founded the United Front to beat the rampant warlords the imperialists had created. (Russia helped with that.) Those were indeed times of great changes. We now see similar changes in this world. The U.S. empire and its proxies are in decline. The BRICS countries, led by Russia and China and rising, now have a bigger GDP(PPP) than the G7. Times have changed. The arrogance of the ‘west’ has ruined its own position in the world. A multitude of other powers have established themselves and are taking over. Russia and China together will see to that. Can the ‘west’ do something about this. I could. If it became humble and truly aware of its own position and of those of the rest of the world. But I for now see no way that it is going to happen. Certainly not anytime soon. Certainly not as long as its political discussions are made up from unfounded memes.

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“..the US’ position “is perfectly logical.” “What I can’t understand is the position of European leaders who are unable to make decisions that benefit Europeans..”

‘The United States of America Is Our Enemy,’ Says Medvedev (TASS)

The United States is currently a hostile country that seeks to cause as much damage to Russia as possible, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “They are our rivals, and today – let’s put it bluntly-they are our enemy. The United States of America is our enemy,” Medvedev pointed out in an interview with Russian media outlets, including TASS, and users of the VKontakte social media network. However, he pointed out that unlike EU nations, the US holds “a consistent stance.” “They are trying to cause us as much damage as possible, and, where feasible, even tear our country apart and put Europe under their spell in the worst way so that it is unable to move at all,” the Russian Security Council deputy chairman noted, adding: “The reason is that sometimes, the leaders that come to power there start getting clever, either withdrawing from NATO or suspending membership or doing something else.”


The Americans have now achieved their goal, Medvedev went on to say, pointing out that the US’ position “is perfectly logical.” “What I can’t understand is the position of European leaders who are unable to make decisions that benefit Europeans. All of their decisions benefit either certain rival political groups or the Americans,” the deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council said. He emphasized that European nations “are no longer an independent subject of international law as they have simply become a cash cow for the United States at the expense of their taxpayers.” “And they are doing it not even for ideological reasons, but out of stupidity and cowardice,” Medvedev concluded.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1639160121841385472

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“As a result, Russia would get a neighbor “who is not only a member of an unfriendly bloc but also plans to produce nuclear weapons..”

Medvedev Says Diplomacy Doesn’t Always Work, Special Op Was Right Move (TASS)

There are situations where agreements are counterproductive and one needs to take steps like launching a special military operation, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Russian media outlets, including TASS, and users of the VKontakte social media network. “In my view, it makes no sense to negotiate in certain situations. One must ignore it, and in some cases make decisions like the one that was made on February 24 last year because agreements can be counterproductive in certain cases,” Medvedev pointed out, when asked if Moscow needed to make agreements with the countries that failed to see Kiev’s crimes.

According to him, Moscow tried for decades to convey some simple things to the West. “Guys, the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, it’s sad but that is what happened, both because of the Soviet leadership’s incompetent policy and your external interference. The country fell apart but ties did not, and the people remained the same. How do you imagine that? Ukraine becoming part of NATO?” he said, clarifying Russia’s message. Meanwhile, Ukraine “had its own nuclear weapons complex,” Medvedev went on to say. As a result, Russia would get a neighbor “who is not only a member of an unfriendly bloc but also plans to produce nuclear weapons,” he noted. “I would like to point out that Ukraine’s leader spoke about this shortly before the start of the operation, in late 2021.

So do you want us to put up with it? Particularly in a situation where we have a dispute over Crimea because we consider it part of our land and they regard it as their territory. So imagine them joining NATO and launching a large-scale operation against our country under NATO’s umbrella – we cannot accept this,” Medvedev stressed. The politician stressed that Russia had proposed a draft agreement on security guarantees to Western countries. “They responded ‘no’,” Medvedev said. In his opinion, “the current ramifications are much more complicated than they would have been” had the document been signed last December.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1638809561045037057

Read more …

Iraq and Kosovo tell the story.

Effects Of Depleted Uranium In Ukraine Cannot Be Controlled – Zakharova (TASS)

Radiation effects of depleted uranium shells, should these be used on the territory of Ukraine, will be impossible to control, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday. “Now the impact of used weapons and shells will be impossible to control either for neighboring states or for the states of the region. This simply cannot be done,” she said, while commenting on London’s intention to provide shells with depleted uranium to Kiev.


“It is possible to participate in the exchange of intelligence, it is possible to ask Washington to control the Kiev regime to ensure it should not carry out strikes at the territory of Poland or shoot down aircraft of some other countries, it is possible to do many other things, but no one can give instructions to radiation, it’s impossible to negotiate with it, there is no way of controlling it.” Zakharova recalled the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant disasters. “Both tragedies still have dire consequences. Their scale is different, but the lesson is the same: it’s impossible to come to terms with radiation,” she added.

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Take from the Guardian. “..to enable the Ukrainians to retake territory to liberate more and more and more land..”

Nato Chief: West Must Brace To Support Ukraine In A Long War (G.)

Vladimir Putin has no immediate plans for peace in Ukraine and so the west needs to brace itself to supply lethal aid to Kyiv for a long time to come, Nato’s secretary general has warned in an interview with the Guardian. Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian president was engaged in “a war of attrition”, and said he wanted Nato members to agree that spending 2% of GDP on defence as a minimum at the alliance’s next summit, in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The fierce fighting, currently centred around Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, demonstrates Russia is willing “to just throw in thousands and thousands more troops, to take many casualties for minimal gains”, the Nato head said.

“President Putin doesn’t plan for peace, he’s planning for more war,” Stoltenberg continued, adding that Russia was increasing military industrial production and “reaching out to authoritarian regimes like Iran or North Korea, and others to try to get more weapons”. As a result, the US, UK, France, Germany and other western states had to be prepared to support Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and spares over a long time. “The need will continue to be there, because this is a war of attrition; this is about industrial capacity to sustain the support,” the secretary general said. At present, the combat was so intense that Ukraine’s use of artillery shells – 4,000 to 7,000 a day to Russia’s 20,000 – was outrunning western manufacturing.

“The current rate of ammunition expenditure is higher than the current production rate,” Stoltenberg said, although new contracts meant that was changing. Earlier this week, EU members agreed to supply Ukraine with a million rounds of shells, enough for six months or so. But heading into what is expected to be his final summit, Stoltenberg said he wanted Nato members to be prepared to spend more to reverse Russia’s invasion. Nato’s annual report, out on Tuesday, acknowledged that only seven of 30 member states – the US, UK, Poland, Greece and the Baltic countries – met the current defence spending target of 2% of GDP in 2022. France at 1.89% and Germany at 1.49% fell short, although both have committed to increases.

[..] A serious effort by China to act as a mediator in the conflict must be accompanied by an attempt “to understand Ukraine’s perspectives”, the Nato chief said, and to “engage with President Zelenskiy directly”. But while welcoming any peace initiative, he complained that Beijing had not yet condemned the Russian invasion. Stoltenberg thought the west had provided enough military equipment, including tanks, fighting vehicles and rocket artillery, “to enable the Ukrainians to retake territory to liberate more and more and more land” seized by Russia after the initial invasion in February 2022. The goal, he emphasised, was “to enable the Ukrainians to launch an offensive and to retake territory” although he said Nato was not a party to the conflict, with alliance members making their own decision on providing weapons and leaving battlefield calculations to Ukraine’s commanders.

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“..and prepared reserves of about 200,000 people..”

Ukraine Deployed Over 80,000 Servicemen Around Bakhmut – Prigozhin (TASS)

The Ukrainian armed forces have gathered over 80,000 servicemen around Artyomovsk (the Ukrainian name of the city is Bakhmut – TASS), Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, said in a video published on his press service’s Telegram channel on Thursday. “As of today, the enemy has deployed more than 80,000 [servicemen] around Bakhmut. This grouping is in Seversk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka and Chasovoy Yar,” Prigozhin said. “The Ukrainians received a very large amount of various NATO equipment, various armored vehicles, Leopards tanks, which everyone is talking about, and prepared reserves of about 200,000 people,” he added.


According to Prigozhin, with the help of the accumulated forces, in addition to military action in Artyomovsk, the Ukrainian armed forces may try to strike the first blow in the direction of Belgorod. “They will try to go near Belgorod,” he theorized. The founder of the Wagner private military company indicated the Svatovo – Kremennaya contact line, where, in his opinion, they may try to “reach Valuiki.”

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Ukraine, like US and Russia, never ratified the Rome Statute. But it does get an ICC office?! And to look only at Russian “crimes”?

Ukraine Welcomes ICC Office (RT)

Ukraine’s prosecutor-general signed an agreement on Thursday to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a representative office in Kiev. Andrey Kostin called it a “significant beginning” in the country’s relationship with the ICC, though Ukraine has still not signed the Rome Statute to accept its jurisdiction. “I am convinced that we will not stop until all those guilty of international crimes committed against Ukraine are brought to justice,” including the Russian military and political leadership, Kostin said after meeting with ICC Secretary Peter Lewis. The prosecutor’s visit to The Hague comes just days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, alleging that the evacuations of children from the combat zone amounted to “forcible transfer of population.”

Kostin also praised ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan, a British lawyer, for “tirelessly standing guard over justice,” and said Ukraine and the court were “building a more just world”together. The ICC itself acknowledged that Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute, the 1998 international treaty that established the ICC. However, the court noted that Kiev has selectively accepted its jurisdiction for alleged crimes committed beginning in November 2013 – when US-backed protests against the government, later known as the Maidan revolution, began – and for an indefinite period thereafter.

Russia never ratified the Rome Statute, and Moscow has responded to the warrant by saying the ICC has no authority or legitimacy. Former president Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges signaled a “complete collapse of international law.” Russian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedingsagainst Khan and ICC judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, involved in issuing the warrant. The ICC also revealed that referrals for the alleged crimes in Ukraine came from a collection of countries, mainly EU and NATO members or otherwise allied with Washington. The US itself was not directly involved, however, as it too does not recognize the court. The US withdrew its signature in 2002 and passed a law allowing for a military invasion of The Hague in case any Americans or allies were detained there.

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Hungary did ratify Rome, but turns its back on the arrest warrant.

Hungary Says It Won’t Arrest Putin (RT)

While the Hungarian government has yet to take an official position on the International Criminal Court’s war crimes warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Thursday that the country’s constitution wouldn’t allow for its enforcement. “We can refer to the Hungarian law, and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian president … as the ICC statute has not been promulgated in Hungary,”said PM Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, addressing reporters during a press conference in Budapest. “These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace,” Gulyas said in reference to the ICC warrant, qualifying it as his “personal, subjective opinion.”

Last week, the ICC called for the arrest of Putin and Russian children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of personal, command and indirect responsibility for “forcible transfer of population,” referring to Moscow’s efforts to evacuate children from the combat zone. Ukraine cheered the move, accusing Russia of “kidnapping” children. Moscow responded by saying the ICC has no authority or legitimacy, as Russia never ratified the 1998 Rome Statute that established the court. Former president Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges meant a “complete collapse of international law.” Russian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedingsagainst the ICC’s head prosecutor and three judges involved with the warrant.

Ukraine never ratified the Rome Statute either, but the government set up after the US-backed coup in 2014 announced it would accept its jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed by Russia on its territory. Hungary did ratify the Rome Statute, and was actually among the NATO countries and other US allies that sent the ICC a criminal referral on Ukraine on March 2, at least according to the court. Washington was not directly involved, however, as the US does not recognize the ICC either. After withdrawing its signature on the Rome Treaty in 2002, the US Congress passed a law allowing for the use of military force to rescue any American or member of an allied military, should they be detained in The Hague.

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“Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “having trouble” convincing members of the grand jury to hear the case..”

House Judiciary Committee Expands Probe Into Alvin Bragg (PM)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters Wednesday to former special prosecutors Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz demanding documents and testimony relating to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” amid the reported impending indictment of former President Donald Trump. Dunne and Pomerantz both resigned from their positions in the DA’s Office in January 2022 after Bragg’s initial reluctance to move forward with charges against President Trump. Since leaving the DA’s office, Dunne and Pomerantz have publicly criticized Bragg for refusing to aggressively prosecute the former president and now have even opened a law firm to bring lawsuits to prevent Trump from holding future office.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote in the letters “Your criticisms of Bragg’s investigation were widely reported. It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case.” The letters asked Pomerantz and Dunne to turn over documents related to the Trump investigation, including communications with federal agencies and other staffers in the DA’s office and sit for transcribed interviews by the morning of March 27. On Monday, Jordan, Reps. Jim Comer (R-KY) and Bryan Steil (R-WI), the chairs of the Oversight and House Administration Committees sent a letter to Bragg requesting his testimony and documents which included the communications of Pomerantz and Dunne.

Jordan wrote, “In January 2022, soon after you took office, you expressed doubts about President Trump’s case and suspended the investigation.” News broke Wednesday that the grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump for his alleged involvement in a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election was told not to show up and would reconvene on Thursday amid reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “having trouble” convincing members of the grand jury to hear the case.

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“..the explosions occurred in an area that had toxic seafloor sediments, which could prove to be worse for the marine life than the release of CO2..”

CIA Planted Nord Stream Stories in NYT, German Outlets – Hersh (Celente)

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that the CIA planted stories about the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage in the New York Times and German magazine Die Zeit in a coordinated effort to discredit his story that it was the Biden administration behind the attack.“The disinformation professionals inside the CIA understand that a propaganda gambit can only work if those on receiving are desperate for a story that can diminish or displace an unwanted truth. And the truth in question is that President Joe Biden authorized the destruction of the pipelines,” an American intelligence source told Hersh. Hersh’s original story went into detail on how the U.S. and Norway allegdly carried out the elaborate bombing.

His theory is that President Joe Biden was concerned Germany would turn back to Russia for its natural gas if there was a cold winter and restart the pipeline. The White House called Hersh’s story completely false. Hersh brushed off the report in The New York Times that blamed the attack on a “pro-Ukrainian group.” Hersh seemed unimpressed with the report and laughed when reached by The Trends Journal. He joked, “I always thought either Somalia or Nepal were behind it.” The Times’s report cited unnamed U.S. officials who said they reviewed new intelligence about the pro-Ukraine group with no known ties to the Ukrainian government. Ukraine also denied any role in the attack. The paper said: The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it supports Russia’s draft resolution that calls on the UN to launch an international investigation into the blast, according to The Global Times. The blast was an environmental disaster. Phys.org wrote, “the explosions took place near the Danish Island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. It has previously been estimated that more than 115,000 tons of natural gas escaped the damaged pipeline in just six days, with a greenhouse gas contribution of approximately 15 million tons of CO2—or the amount of carbon that can be absorbed by roughly 580 million trees in a year.” The report noted that the explosions occurred in an area that had toxic seafloor sediments, which could prove to be worse for the marine life than the release of CO2.

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“While many Democrats repeatedly stress that influence peddling is not criminal, it is corrupt and the Bidens appear to be a class in themselves..”

Biden Played Direct Role in Addressing Hunter’s Business Deals (Turley)

Some of us have written for two years that President Biden’s denial of knowledge is patently false. It was equally evident that the Biden family was selling influence and access. There are emails of Ukrainian and other foreign clients thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. There are photos from dinners and meetings that tie President Biden to these figures, including a 2015 dinner with a group of Hunter Biden’s Russian and Kazakh clients. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”

Instead, the emails apparently refer to President Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes. Bobulinski has given multiple interviews that he met twice with Joe Biden to discuss a business deal in China with CEFC China Energy Co. That would seem obvious evidence. In addition, the New York Post reported on a key email that discussed “the proposed percentage distribution of equity in a company created for a joint venture with CEFC China Energy Co.” That was the email on March 13, 2017 that included references of “10 held by H for the big guy.”

The new emails show that, as early as 2015, [former Biden Communications Director Kate] Bedingfield told Hunter’s top financial lieutenant Eric Schwerin via email that Joe Biden approved a statement regarding Hunter’s board position. Yet, for years, Biden’s communications office repeated his denial of any involvement or knowledge. That stands in contradiction to Bedingfield’s 2015 email acknowledging that “VP signed off on this — will give this quote to reporters in my name shortly.” Bedingfield left the White House in 2023. The White House has continued the categorical denials. When confronted by Fox’s Fox News’ Peter Doocy on the transfer records showing millions sent from China, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded: “Look, I’m just not going to respond to that from here. Look, we have heard from House Republicans for years and years and years how — the inaccuracies and lies when it comes to this issue. And, I don’t even where to begin to even answer that question because, again, it’s been lies and lies and inaccuracy for the past couple of years and I’m just not going to get into it from here.”

The only reason that Biden would even attempt to maintain this clearly false defense is that he could count on a supportive media to blunt any attacks and limit inquiries. Of course, there is a difference with the Sgt. Schulz defense. Schultz was harmless and comical. The Biden influence peddling allegations is neither. Despite the striking lack of interest of many in the media, this is about millions of dollars paid to the First Family by foreign sources, including some with foreign intelligence ties. Influence peddling has long been the favored form of corruption in Washington. While many Democrats repeatedly stress that influence peddling is not criminal, it is corrupt and the Bidens appear to be a class in themselves. Yet, even with the clear contradiction of the President’s repeated statements to the public, Democrats still oppose any investigation into the alleged influence peddling. What made Sgt. Schultz funny is precisely why the Biden defense is collapsing. The refusal of the media to see what is now in plain view will convince no one. At some point, Democratic leaders will have to recognize the obvious or join the Bidens (and many journalists) in this cast of this theater of the absurd.

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In several steps, VAERS was massively expanded. They knew.

FOIA Document Shows Government Anticipated Mass Vaccine Injuries (Horowitz)

[..] as Hebrew University Professor Josh Guetzkow reveals, not only did the CDC know about the vaccine injuries blowing up VAERS at record levels (even before the general public had access to them), the agency contracted with defense contractor General Dynamics to handle the database in anticipation of record use. Then, when the vaccines were released, the CDC had to up the contract to account for even more entries, yet showed no moral qualms about continuing with the campaign without disclosing these revelations to the public. Guetzkow, who has secured numerous FOIA’ed documents both in the U.S. and Israel throughout COVID, posted 69 pages of FOIA’ed documents and contracts from General Dynamics Information Technology to the CDC’s immunization safety office.


Thanks to his work, we already know from the previous FOIA’ed documents that the CDC’s $9.45 million contract with General Dynamics in August 2020 stated that officials anticipated 1,000 adverse event reports a day, with 40% of them being serious. Yet, like a cold serial killer soullessly counting his casualty list, the CDC was completely fine with going through with this campaign, as if it were the price that had to be paid to worship the spirit of the age – the modern-day Moloch. However, this document shows that as early as Jan. 15 – when most people still could have avoided these shots – the CDC was aware of record-setting reports that crushed even the agency’s initial cold-hearted, morbid expectations.

As you can see from page 8 of the pdf, General Dynamics warned the CDC that VAERS had blown through the expected 1,000 cases per day and even reached a level above 4,500 – to the point that GD couldn’t process the data. Mind you, they were never concerned with the human toll, just the logistics of the contract labor. They predicted a need for “reforecasting of staffing needs” to process all these reports. Already in December 2020, when the shots were only available for select people like doctors, there were over 19,000 reports and close to 344,000 website visits. It’s hard to see how this wasn’t organic from people genuinely in pain because there was no organized campaign in the United States to inform people of VAERS at the time. I myself (who obsessively focused on this) hadn’t heard of it until two months later.


By Feb. 15, General Dynamics reported a continued record-setting pace of reports and website visits, to the point that workers had to expand their VAERS ID reports to allow for seven digits instead of six. In April, officials reported that they had to hire an additional 200 staffers to deal with the backlog and continue to process 25,000 reports per week, well beyond the threshold they originally contracted for. As eligibility for the shots expanded for all age groups, they continued to process over 30,000 injury reports a week, yet the CDC never said a word about it. Not only did officials not take the products off the market, they began mandating them over late summer 2021, with some mandates that remain in place to this very day.

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20,000 year-old fossilized human footprints were discovered in Australia in 2006: they indicate the hunter who made them was running at ~37 km/h (or 23 mph), the speed of a modern Olympic sprinter, but barefoot and in sand

 

 

Black hole sound

 

 


The Ili pika (Ochotona iliensis) is a critically endangered species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae, endemic to northwest China. It was discovered in 1983: this is the first documented photo in 20 years, taken in 2015

 

 

Full frontal flip

 

 


Claude Monet in his Giverny garden in 1899.

 

 


What the inside of a tardigrade looks like
Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa, Corinna Schulze and Ricardo Neves

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 092023
 


Vincent van Gogh Almond blossom 1890

 

Seymour Hersh Laughs off NYT Article on Nord Stream Culprits (Celente)
‘Officials’ Throw More Chaff To Hide Real Nord Stream Perpetrators (MoA)
German Defense Minister Comments On Nord Stream Sabotage Case (RT)
CIA, White House Consider Kiev Involvement In Nord Stream Sabotage – WSJ (TASS)
West Won’t Name Ukrainian Businessman Involved In Nord Stream Incident (TASS)
Russia: NYT Report on Nord Stream Attack is Deliberate Disinformation (SN)
EU Threatens Georgia Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Law (RT)
US Could ‘Shift Focus’ From Europe To Asia ‘Anytime’ – Berlin (RT)
Vindman Busted For Dealing Lucrative Defense Contracts in Ukraine (TP)
Elon Musk Blasts MSM, Democrats On January 6th Capitol Riot Revelations (DCE)
Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Not Credible, Says White House (BBC)
Moscow Condemns ‘Nazi Celebration’ At White House (RT)
EU Energy Bills Soared 300% – von der Leyen (RT)
Ukraine Cuts Off Power To Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant (TASS)

 

 

 

 

Also Sep 2019: Bill Gates buys $30 million in BioNTech stock

 

 

 

 

Southfront

 

 

Scott Ritter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1633549541717966851

 

 

 

 

Garland

 

 

 

 

“I always thought either Somalia or Nepal were behind it.”

Seymour Hersh Laughs off NYT Article on Nord Stream Culprits (Celente)

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote the expose on the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage last month, brushed off today’s report in The New York Times that blamed the attack on a “pro-Ukrainian group.” Hersh’s original story went into detail on how the U.S. and Norway allegdly carried out the elaborate bombing. His theory is that President Joe Biden was concerned Germany would turn back to Russia for its natural gas if there was a cold winter and restart the pipeline. The White House called Hersh’s story completely false. The Times’s report cited unnamed U.S. officials who said they reviewed new intelligence about the pro-Ukraine group with no known ties to the Ukrainian government. Ukraine also denied any role in the attack.

The paper said: The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation. Hersh seemed unimpressed with the report and laughed when reached by The Trends Journal. He joked, “I always thought either Somalia or Nepal were behind it.” The Times’s decision to even cover the attack is a change in the U.S. media. FAIR, the media watchdog group, ran an extensive article last week that looked into Hersh’s report and the response from top news outlets in the U.S. The watchdog group noted that there was “not a word broadcast by the major US broadcast networks—NBC, ABC, CBS—or the publicly funded broadcasters PBS and NPR. No news stories on the nation’s major cable outlets, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.”

But despite the lack of coverage in the U.S., Russia used Hersh’s story to demand a UN investigation and to threaten open-water chaos. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council that if the perpetrators are not found and brought to justice, it could become open season on undersea infrastructure for military strikes. Germany’s ARD broadcaster and Zeit newspaper also released a report that said German authorities identified the yacht used in the sabotage, but noted that the lack of evidence could be a false flag, Al Jazeera reported. Last Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz flew to Washington for what amounted to a secret one-hour summit with President Joe Biden.

No staff attended the two-man meeting and to illustrate journalistic malpractice, none of the Presstitutes asked the German leader his thoughts about Seymour Hersh’s report that the United States blew up the Nord Stream pipelines. The theory is that the Biden administration was worried Germany could turn back to Russia because of the cheap gas, and so the U.S. destroying the pipelines would prevent such a scenario. And what was the real purpose of this secret meeting? No one was told. Was it to ramp up World War III?

Hersh “they can’t be that stupid”

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“Such deep dives require special gases, special breathing equipment, special training, a decompression chamber for emergencies and lots of well trained people to maintain all that stuff..”

‘Officials’ Throw More Chaff To Hide Real Nord Stream Perpetrators (MoA)

The new claim is that some rather small yacht, which would not even be able to carry the necessary equipment to perform such a deed, was the main instrument in this:

“Following joint research by [German main public TV news unit] (ARD’s capital city studio), the ARD political magazine Kontraste, [German public TV] SWR and DIE ZEIT, it was possible to reconstruct to a large extent in the course of the investigation how and when the explosive attack was prepared. According to this, traces lead in the direction of Ukraine. However, investigators have so far found no evidence of who ordered the destruction.

Specifically, according to information from [these news sources], investigators have managed to identify the boat that was presumably used for the secret operation. It is said to be a yacht rented from a company based in Poland, apparently owned by two Ukrainians. The clandestine operation at sea is said to have been carried out by a team of six people, according to the investigation. It is said to have involved five men and one woman. According to the report, the group consisted of a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a female doctor, who are said to have transported the explosives to the crime scenes and placed them there. The nationality of the perpetrators is apparently unclear. The assassins used professionally forged passports, which are said to have been used, among other things, to rent the boat.

According to the investigation, the commando set off from Rostock on September 6, 2022. The equipment for the clandestine operation was previously transported to the port in a van, it is said. In the further course, the investigators succeeded in locating the boat the following day again in Wieck (Darß) and later at the Danish island Christiansø, northeast of Bornholm, according to the research. The yacht was subsequently returned to the owner in uncleaned condition. On the table in the cabin, the investigators were able to detect traces of explosives, according to the research. According to information from [the mentioned news sources], a Western intelligence service is said to have sent a tip to European partner services as early as in the fall, i.e. shortly after the destruction, according to which a Ukrainian commando was responsible for the destruction. Thereafter, there have allegedly been further intelligence indications suggesting that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible.”

No. You do not dive down to 80+ meter for an industrial size job, involving the placement of hundreds of pounds of explosives in eight individual charges on very sturdy pipelines, from a sparsely manned boat. Such deep dives require special gases, special breathing equipment, special training, a decompression chamber for emergencies and lots of well trained people to maintain all that stuff.

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“..the sabotage act might have been a “false-flag operation” aimed at framing Ukraine..”

German Defense Minister Comments On Nord Stream Sabotage Case (RT)

Germany’s defense minister Boris Pistorius has dodged a question about how the Nord Stream sabotage case could influence Western military aid for Kiev if it turns out that some pro-Ukrainian groups were behind the Russian gas pipeline blasts. It is of no use to speculate on the “hypothetical” indications, the minister told national news radio Deutschlandfunk (DLF) on Wednesday, on the heels of several media reports linking the incident, which occurred in September 2022, to some alleged Ukrainian perpetrators. “We’ll have to wait and see what is actually confirmed,” Pistorius told DLF’s Barbara Schmidt-Mattern when asked about the media reports. On Tuesday, a host of German media outlets, including Die Zeit newspaper and state broadcaster ARD, reported that a vessel believed to be linked to the Nord Stream sabotage operation allegedly belongs to a Ukrainian-owned company.

The reports also said that a Western intelligence agency is thought to have informed European “partner services”that a “Ukrainian commando” unit was behind the attack. The New York Times reported on the same day, citing US intelligence sources, that a “pro-Ukrainian group”was behind the September 2022 attacks. Pistorius brushed off all the claims presented in the reports as “hypothetical” and maintained that the sabotage act might have been a “false-flag operation” aimed at framing Ukraine. The chance of it being a false-flag operation is as “equally high” as the chance of Ukrainians being behind it, the minister said. Berlin has so far not made any investigation results public. A few days ago, Sweden, Denmark and Germany “informed the United Nations Security Council that the investigations are ongoing and that there are still no results,” a government spokesman declared on Tuesday.

Pistorius also insisted it would make little sense to “think about what impact this would have on our support for Ukraine on the basis of such a [journalistic] investigation” when asked about the potential fallout of a probe into the Nord Stream sabotage. The minister also said that Germany and its allies continue to supply Kiev “to the best of our ability.” He added, though, that Ukraine’s Western backers can only provide ammunition for the Ukrainian troops as long as it does not compromise their own defense capacities. “We need certain reserves to maintain our own ability to defend ourselves,” Pistorius said, calling limited defense industry production capacities a real “bottleneck” limiting Western military aid for Ukraine. His words came as The Times reported that Western intelligence agencies had been well aware of the identity of a person behind the attack on Nord Stream. They decided at the time to conceal this information to avoid a spat between Berlin and Kiev, since the suspect had ties to Ukraine, the paper claimed.

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“The US believes that Ukraine had an opportunity to perform such operation..”

CIA, White House Consider Kiev Involvement In Nord Stream Sabotage – WSJ (TASS)

CIA Director William Burns and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan considered a version of Ukraine’s responsibility for sabotage acts at Nord Stream gas pipelines in October 2022, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed representatives of the US administration. The US believes that Ukraine had an opportunity to perform such operation. No data are available at the moment indicating that Ukrainian authorities were involved in sabotage acts, the newspaper said. The German investigation has almost completely excluded the version of Russia’s involvement in sabotage acts at gas pipelines. The US also does not believe that Russia was involved, the newspaper informed. German investigators arrived at the conclusion of non-involvement of Russia by February 2023, WSJ reported. Conclusions are not final and the investigation continues, the newspaper said.


Ukraine passport found

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Easier that way. Deep secret.

West Won’t Name Ukrainian Businessman Involved In Nord Stream Incident (TASS)

The Western nations are likely not to disclose the name of a Ukrainian businessman alleged to be involved in sabotage acts at Nord Stream pipelines to keep the unity of the West in providing military aid to Ukraine, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said, citing sources. The businessman, whose name is known to the news outlet, fell under suspicion in view of a special nature of sabotage acts that might hint that he was involved with the incident, sources said. A newspaper’s source in European security agencies confirmed that the businessman is on the radar screen of investigators but said nothing whether he is a formal suspect in the case.

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“I wonder who allows such leaks, filling the media scene with them?”

Russia: NYT Report on Nord Stream Attack is Deliberate Disinformation (SN)

Russia has claimed that the New York Times report about a ‘pro-Ukraine group’ being responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline attack is a deliberate form of disinformation to distract from the fact that the U.S. was responsible for the blasts. The NYT said that a “pro-Ukrainian group” had sabotaged the pipelines, using a team with as few as six people involved in the mission, contradicting previous assumptions that only a state would have had the resources to carry out the operation. The report was very careful to explicitly state that no Americans or Brits were involved in the attack. A few hours later, German media outlets reported that the vessel involved in the plot, a yacht, had been identified as being rented from a Poland-based company which belonged to a pair of Ukrainians.


The reports contradicted the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who wrote last month that the pipelines were destroyed by the US as part of a covert operation. According to Hersh’s sources, the explosives were planted in June 2022 by US Navy divers under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise and were detonated three months later with a remote signal sent by a sonar buoy. One source told Hersh that the plotters knew the covert operation was an “act of war,” with some in the CIA and State Department warning, “Don’t do this. It’s stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out.” Russia reacted to the New York Times report by dismissing it as a propaganda ploy designed to obfuscate the truth. “I wonder who allows such leaks, filling the media scene with them?” asked Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “The answer is: those who do not want to conduct an investigation in the legal field and are going to divert the attention of the audience from the facts in every possible way.”

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NGOs are the vehicle for color revolutions. The law was withdrawn this morning.

EU Threatens Georgia Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Law (RT)

Georgia risks “significant withdrawal of EU support” if it proceeds with the law on registering foreign agents, Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan said on Wednesday. The vice-president of the European People’s Party bloc in the European Parliament told Romania’s Digi 24 outlet that requiring NGOs to disclose foreign funding was an attack on democracy. “We see intimidation of civil society,” Muresan told the outlet. Requiring organizations dealing with press freedom, human rights and helping Ukrainian refugees to register as foreign agents if 20% or more of their funding comes from abroad is “intimidation of essential entities for democracy, it is not at all consistent with European standards,” he added.

“What the Georgian authorities are doing endangers the country’s European course,” insisted Muresan, accusing Tbilisi of having “fallen behind Moldova and Ukraine” in implementing EU reforms. On Tuesday, Georgian lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would impose registration requirements on foreign-funded NGOs. The opposition denounced it as “Russian-like” and organized mass protests outside the parliament two days in a row. Some of the demonstrators carried EU, US and Ukrainian flags. Others wore gas masks and helmets, attempted to storm the legislature, and threw Molotov cocktails at police. The ruling party in Tbilisi says the law is intended to protect the country’s sovereignty from “extremist organizations” funded from abroad.

Georgian Dream party leader Irakli Kobakhidze accused the opposition of wanting to restore the 2003-2012 ‘Rose Revolution’ regime, which he said looted the country and lost 20% of its territory. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and the US State Department have sided with the rioters, with the US embassy in Tbilisi calling the proposed law a “dark day for democracy.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also described the proposal as contrary to EU values. Muresan told Digi24 that Tbilisi “risks a significant withdrawal of EU support” unless it backs down, because Brussels cannot support “undemocratic tendencies.” “Obviously the EU expectation is that people can express themselves freely and any attempt to intimidate those who take to the streets will not be accepted,” he said.

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Raytheon spokesman.

US Could ‘Shift Focus’ From Europe To Asia ‘Anytime’ – Berlin (RT)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has expressed concern that Europe is relying too much on the US in the area of defense. This means there is pressure on him “at all times,” he admitted during a talk with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk (Dlf) radio broadcaster on Wednesday, adding that Washington’s priorities could always change. “We always have to keep in mind that the Americans could… shift their focus… towards the Indo-Pacific [region],” Pistorius said. He added that this could happen for a range of reasons, and the likelihood of such a scenario may be influenced by the outcome of the US presidential elections next year. The minister called on Europe to make “more efforts” to develop its own coordinated defense policy and assume the “corresponding responsibility.”

He maintained that Europe could always rely on its “transatlantic partner,” but added that “the balance can shift and we have to prepare for that.” Pistorius also said Germany and the US would have to coordinate their approaches toward China. Asked about “teamwork” between Washington and Berlin in dealing with Beijing, he said: “I believe it will be done anyway, and that is necessary.” He did not rule out Germany joining US-led sanctions against China should Beijing supply Russia with lethal weapons amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Pistorius’ remarks come around a week after he admitted that Germany does not have sufficient forces to defend itself against “an offensive” after years of neglecting its own army.

Earlier this week, Germany’s ZDF broadcaster also reported that the German Army – the Bundeswehr – was struggling to fulfill its obligations as part of a NATO rapid response force (VJTF) due to a lack of battle-ready tanks.Despite facing such issues in the field of defense, Berlin has been providing extensive support to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, sometimes at the expense of its own defense capabilities. Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, the country’s top military contractor, told the Pioneer podcast in late February that the government had transferred to Ukraine two state-of-the-art air defense systems that were meant to protect the German capital.

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Didn’t get paid enough for framingTrump.

Vindman Busted For Dealing Lucrative Defense Contracts in Ukraine (TP)

A key witness in the impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump is being called an “opportunist” after pitching lucrative defense contracts to the Ukrainian government in a blatant attempt to profit off the current international struggle. Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified before the House Intelligence Committee in 2019 in response to questions raised about dealings between President Trump and Ukrainian, has offered logistics and equipment management services to Ukrainian forces for $12 million. The contract was offered through Trident International LLC, of which Vindman is CEO, according to Fox News.

Democrats subpoenaed Vindman to testify in 2019 as part of their impeachment hearings exploring whether or not President Trump appealed to the Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement in helping his son Hunter secure business dealings with natural gas firm Burisma Holdings. Vindman’s prepared testimony, which was leaked to the media in advance, detailed his concerns that “outside influencers” were attempting to thwart congressional support for Ukraine. He went on to say that such a narrative would “undermine U.S. national security.” The following year, a U.S. Senate committee on homeland security concluded that then-Vice President Biden and State Department officials were aware of the conflict of interest exhibited with Hunter Biden’s business relationship but ignored repeated concerns raised at the time.

Lt. Col. Vindman retired from the military in the aftermath of his testimony, alleging in a subsequent lawsuit that the Trump White House committed a “campaign of intimidation and retaliation has had severe and deeply personal ramifications.” A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in November. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), a sharp critic of Vindman during the impeachment hearings, did not hold back in excoriating Vindman for his Ukrainian dealings: “When conservatives speak the truth, the mainstream media panics and desperately attempts to provide cover for the left. They did this for Alexander Vindman, just like they did for Hunter Biden, Dr. Fauci and teachers unions,” Blackburn said, referencing liberal media outlets’ staunch defense of Vindman throughout his time as a witness during the impeachment investigation.

“Alexander Vindman has always been a political activist and opportunist masquerading behind his career. He saw an opening for personal fame and profited by exploiting the media’s outrage against President Trump,” she accused. “Vindman has spent the last three years on MSNBC and CNN attacking Republicans. Now, new revelations suggest Vindman could be profiting off the war in Ukraine, just as he did by speaking out against the Trump administration,” Blackburn added.

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“they withheld evidence for partisan political reasons that sent people to prison for far more serious crimes than they committed.”

Elon Musk Blasts MSM, Democrats On January 6th Capitol Riot Revelations (DCE)

On Monday evening, Tucker Carlson released an expose of the over 40,000 hours of footage his producers reviewed of the January 6th Capitol Riot leading to massive reactions online including from the world’s richest man, Elon Musk. Musk took aim at Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Adam Schiff (D-CA) who, Tucker claimed, painted a biased portrait of what occurred on January 6th. Throughout Tucker’s coverage, he showcased that the House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack lied about how Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died with the Fox host showing that he was walking around following the supposed attack that killed him.

In addition, Carlson debunked the now-famous clip of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) running away from the rioters, showcasing that there were dozens of lawmakers and staff being escorted from their offices by the police, not just the Missouri senator. In addition, Tucker pointed out that Ray Epps, a rioter on January 6th that has gained considerable attention and who has been used as a key witness, in fact, lied during his testimony about when he left the Capitol. All of these facts combined led to Musk blasting the Democrats for misleading the public over the past two years in order to push a narrative to push their own partisan priorities. “Besides misleading the public,” Musk began, “they withheld evidence for partisan political reasons that sent people to prison for far more serious crimes than they committed.”

“That is deeply wrong, legally and morally,” he continued, adding, “This is crazy. The public was misled.” In addition to expressing his own opinion about the matter, he also called upon BBC World to cover the release of the footage honestly: “What say you, [BBC World]?” he asked. “Your credibility is at stake.”

Tucker montage
https://twitter.com/i/status/1633282902615105537

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Him and Seymour Hersh.

Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Not Credible, Says White House (BBC)

The White House has called Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson “not credible” after he made a number of claims based on previously unseen footage from the 2021 Capitol riots. The criticism echoes similar statements this week from leading Democrat and Republican lawmakers. Mr Carlson showed unseen clips from the riots on his show this week. He argued the footage “does not show an insurrection or a riot in progress” but rather “mostly peaceful chaos”.A top congressional Republican recently gave Mr Carlson and his team exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of surveillance video from the Capitol. The White House rarely criticises journalists by name but weighed in with a statement on Wednesday about the prime-time TV host’s broadcast related to the footage.

Spokesperson Andrew Bates said the White House agreed with critics, including the “chief of the Capitol Police and the wide range of bipartisan lawmakers” that “condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack”. “We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible.” The BBC contacted Fox News for a response. On his Wednesday broadcast, Mr Carlson showed no new footage but repeated his previous claims and criticised government officials who stated that five police officers died as a result of the riot. One Capitol Police officer died of a stroke the day after the riot, while four others subsequently took their own lives.

[..] The justice department says about 140 police officers were assaulted that day.Around 1,000 people have been arrested so far in connection with the riot, most of them charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building, according to justice department figures.More than 300 have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, including more than 100 who have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to a police officer.

LMAO

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Biden throws a party.

Moscow Condemns ‘Nazi Celebration’ At White House (RT)

The White House’s decision to bestow the International Women of Courage Award on a member of an infamous Ukrainian nationalist battalion is “disgraceful,” Moscow’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said on Thursday. He claimed that the move was further proof that Washington is ready to support Nazis in the fight against Russia. Speaking to reporters, Antonov was asked to comment on the award received at the White House by Yulia Paevskaya, who goes by the nickname ‘Taira’. The ambassador said Moscow had noted the honoring of a member of the Azov battalion, a Ukrainian unit closely associated with neo-Nazi ideology, on International Women’s Day. “This is a disgrace. It is incomprehensible that Nazis can be celebrated within the walls of the White House.”

Antonov described Paevskaya as a “terrorist cutthroat whose hands are covered in the blood of the elderly, women, and children.” In March 2022, as the fighting raged in the besieged city of Mariupol, which is now part of Russia, Paevskaya “pretended to be a mother of two children whose parents she had killed herself,” and then tried to escape disguised in civilian clothing, Antonov stated. “The abducted minors later confessed that Paevskaya had threatened them with violence,” the diplomat added. Paevskaya also took part in the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, trained neo-Nazis in the Donbass region, and “committed crimes against civilians,” Antonov claimed. He also stated that the Azov battalion, which Paevskaya is part of, bears the symbol of a Nazi Germany SS division.

Antonov asserted that Washington is well aware of all of this information, but “to hurt Russia, the United States is willing to glorify Nazism.” He added that the authorities in Washington should be “ashamed” of themselves for dishonoring the American and Soviet veterans who fought against fascism during World War II. Paevskaya was captured by Russian forces in Mariupol in March. In June, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced that Kiev had managed to free her from captivity, describing her as a paramedic, but without providing further details. The International Women of Courage Award is a prize annually distributed by the White House. This year, in addition to Paevskaya, it was bestowed upon 10 other “extraordinary women… who are working to build a brighter future for all.”

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Get her out.

EU Energy Bills Soared 300% – von der Leyen (RT)

The EU member states saw their energy bills skyrocket by at least 300% last summer after a dramatic reduction of Russian gas supplies, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. According to the EC chief, the bloc managed to replace the shortfall in Russian natural gas by purchasing more from alternative suppliers, as well as by increasing energy efficiency by reducing consumption by 20%. “Russia cut its gas supply to Europe by 80% in eight months, sending energy prices in Europe soaring,” von der Leyen said addressing a joint session of the Canadian parliament. “Last summer, our energy bills rose by 300%.”

The top official alleged that Russian officials tried to blackmail Brussels by reducing the supplies as EU nations were heavily dependent on Russian gas. She highlighted “an important role” Canada played to help tackle the energy crisis by boosting its production of liquified natural gas (LNG). The head of the EC has previously accused Moscow of blackmailing EU countries, after Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom stopped gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in April 2022.

In response, the Kremlin assured everyone that the Russian party “was and remained a reliable supplier of energy resources to its consumers and was always committed to its contractual obligations.” Moscow insisted that both Bulgaria and Poland were cut off from Russian supplies only after they rejected the gas-for-rubles scheme. This scheme was introduced by the Russian government in response to the sanctions imposed on Moscow over the military operation in Ukraine. Moscow demanded that the nations that had imposed the penalties pay for natural gas in rubles. The scheme requires importers to open accounts in Gazprombank. They can then deposit funds in their currency of choice, which the bank converts to rubles and transfers to the supplier.

Terhes

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“..It is just an act of pure spite on the part of Kiev..”

Ukraine Cuts Off Power To Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant (TASS)

Ukraine has cut off power to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Energodar, Chairman of the We Stand With Russia movement Vladimir Rogov told TASS on Thursday. “[Ukraine] cut off the supply through the last remaining powerline to the Zaporozhye NPP at 4:53 a.m. The nuclear power plant is currently disconnected from external power sources,” he said. “It has nothing to do with shelling attacks, nothing happened in the area that could have led to the power cutoff. It is just an act of pure spite on the part of Kiev,” Rogov noted. He added that the nuclear power plant had been switched to diesel generators.


The Zaporozhye nuclear plant, located in the city of Energodar, is the largest in Europe and has a capacity of about 6,000 MW. Russian troops took control of the facility in late February 2022. Since then, the Ukrainian military has been shelling both Energodar’s residential areas and the premises of the Zaporozhye nuclear station, using drones, heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers. An IAEA mission led by Grossi visited the facility in early September and two of its members remained at the site as observers. The IAEA later published a report calling for the creation of a safety zone around the plant to prevent any calamities from the ongoing military activities.

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Submarine

 

 

Cats

 

 

Mountain goat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1633357220514791425

 

 

Xizi pagoda
https://twitter.com/i/status/1633537858295193617

 

 


A member of the pheasant family, the Himalayan monal, is the national bird of Nepal

 

 

 

 

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