Feb 292024
 February 29, 2024  Posted by at 10:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »

Paul Gauguin A Day of No Gods 1894


Illinois Judge Rules Trump Disqualified From Ballot (ET)
Trump Asks Judge to Block Testimony From Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels (ET)
EU Leaders ‘Scared To Death’ By Trump – Biden (RT)
Follow the McCaskill Rule on the Biden’s Use of False Story (Turley)
Biden Needs Legal Authority From Congress to Act on Russian Assets – White House (Sp.)
Hunter Biden Planned Global Hedge Fund to Benefit Joe (Sp.)
Joe Biden ‘The Closer’ In Hunter’s Corrupt Schemes (Fox)
The Obamas are RUNNING the Country (VDH)
Israel, Hamas Contradict Biden Claim That Gaza Ceasefire Is Close (Sneineh)
Ukraine In ‘Catastrophic Situation’ – Zakharova (RT)
Media’s Selective Coverage Of Navalny and Lira (Macleod)
The October 7th America Has Forgotten (Mazzarino)
China’s Unexpected Gains From The Red Sea Crisis (Cradle)
Explosive Truth of US’ Nord Stream Sabotage Could ‘Destroy’ NATO (Sp.)
Elon Musk Slams US-Mexico Border Security (RT)








Tom Fitton: In a massive loss for Biden regime/Jack Smith and the rabid anti-Trump DC courts, Supreme Court GRANTS Trump request to pause proceedings so it can decide whether a former president can be prosecuted for official acts:

The application for a stay presented to The Chief Justice is referred by him to the Court. The Special Counsel’s request to treat the stay application as a petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, and that petition is granted limited to the following question: Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. Without expressing a view on the merits, this Court directs the Court of Appeals to continue withholding issuance of the mandate until the sending down of the judgment of this Court. The application for a stay is dismissed as moot.

The case will be set for oral argument during the week of April 22, 2024. Petitioner’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support or in support of neither party, are to be filed on or before Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Respondent’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support, are to be filed on or before Monday, April 8, 2024. The reply brief, if any, is to be filed on or before 5 p.m., Monday, April 15, 2024.



Turley: “The order setting argument on immunity for April 22 is a blow to Smith on the calendar. Rather than granting a stay, it has constructively created such a stay by scheduling the argument. Keep in mind, even if Smith prevails, pre-trial work must wait for the return of the mandate..”



Star witness












“In the meantime, President Trump remains on the Illinois ballot, is dominating the polls, and will Make America Great Again!”

Illinois Judge Rules Trump Disqualified From Ballot (ET)

Ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on whether former President Donald Trump can be disqualified as a candidate by individual states under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, an Illinois judge ruled President Trump ineligible for the ballot. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Porter, following other jurisdictions, stayed her order to remove the former president pending an appeal. The ruling came a week after the judge heard arguments regarding Illinois statutes. “This Order is stayed until March 1, 2024 in anticipation of an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, or the Illinois Supreme Court. This Order is further stayed if the United States Supreme Court in Anderson v. Griswold enters a decision inconsistent with this Order,” the ruling reads.

On Feb. 8, the day the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding Colorado’s disqualification of President Trump, mail-in ballots were sent out in Illinois with President Trump’s name on them. This puts the state in a position to potentially have to not count votes cast for him. If the order is not stayed and reversed, the state elections board will be tasked with removing “Donald J. Trump from the ballot for the General Primary Election on March 19, 2024, or cause any votes cast for him to be suppressed, according to the procedures within their administrative authority.” Much of the judge’s opinion and order dealt with state law and whether the state elections board had the jurisdiction to rule on this matter. The judge found that Illinois law allowed petitioners to bring this kind of a challenge and that President Trump was “disqualified by engaging in insurrection,” noting that this finding was echoed by the hearing officer of the state election board and the Colorado Supreme Court.

“This Court shares the Colorado Supreme Court’s sentiments that did not reach its conclusions lightly. This Court also realizes the magnitude of this decision and it (sic) impact on the upcoming primary Illinois elections,” the order reads. Both of those jurisdictions based the “insurrection” conclusion on records that plaintiffs presented drawn largely from the controversial Jan. 6 Select Committee report. Judge Porter determined that Section 3 was self-executing, applied to presidents, and could be applied by individual states even in the event of a national election. These legal issues are all currently before the Supreme Court, which on Feb. 8 questioned attorneys representing President Trump and six petitioners from Colorado on the ramifications of states applying Section 3 at length and spent little time discussing whether an insurrection occurred.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung responded to the decision by highlighting that the judge was acting against the decision of the state’s board of elections and other relevant rulings, and called Judge Porter an “activist Democrat judge.” “The Soros-funded Democrat front-groups continue to attempt to interfere in the election and deny President Trump his rightful place on the ballot,” he said. “Today, an activist Democrat judge in Illinois summarily overruled the state’s board of elections and contradicted earlier decisions from dozens of other state and federal jurisdictions. “This is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal,” he added. “In the meantime, President Trump remains on the Illinois ballot, is dominating the polls, and will Make America Great Again!”

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“The judge in President Trump’s civil fraud trial said that Mr. Cohen’s testimony was “significantly compromised..” “Arthur Engoron, who fined President Trump $355 million for supposedly inflating the value of his properties to get better loan terms, said he found Mr. Cohen’s testimony “credible.”

Trump Asks Judge to Block Testimony From Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels (ET)

Former President Donald Trump has asked the judge in his so-called “hush money” case to issue pretrial rulings that would block certain evidence and witness testimony that the former president says his opponents want to exploit to undermine his 2024 presidential campaign. The case centers on allegations that President Trump falsified business records to hide $130,000 in payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford) in exchange for keeping quiet about her allegations about an affair. President Trump has repeatedly denied any affair or wrongdoing, while calling the case a politically-motivated ploy to hurt his chances of winning the race for the White House.

With trial scheduled to start on March 25, President Trump is now ramping up his rhetoric, accusing prosecutors in a 47-page motion filed on Monday of planning to put forward “improper arguments” and “inadmissible evidence” in order to bolster their “listless ‘zombie’ case” and interfere in the upcoming presidential election. At the top of the list of what President Trump wants New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to block is any new testimony from his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who has admitted to lying to Congress. Other demands include blocking testimony from Ms. Clifford, former Trump doorman Dino Sajudin, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as other requests related to evidentiary and procedural matters. President Trump’s motion challenges the credibility of the witnesses, including calling Mr. Cohen a “liar” and suggesting Ms. Clifford would offer “false” testimony.

“The People should be precluded from suborning additional perjury by Michael Cohen,” President Trump’ attorney, Todd Blanche, wrote in the filing. He said Mr. Cohen lied to lawmakers in 2017 and, more recently, perjured himself while testifying at President Trump civil fraud trial in October. The judge in President Trump’s civil fraud trial said that Mr. Cohen’s testimony was “significantly compromised” by his misleading statements to Congress and by some “seeming contradictions” in what he said at trial. Still, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who fined President Trump $355 million for supposedly inflating the value of his properties to get better loan terms, said he found Mr. Cohen’s testimony “credible.” Mr. Blanche wrote in the filing that prosecutors have an obligation to ensure that testimony presented to judges and juries is truthful. He argued that it was a “troubling” violation of prosecutors’ ethical and constitutional obligations for them to push for testimony from Mr. Cohen, whom he called a “serial liar.”

President Trump’s attorney also asked the judge to issue a pretrial ruling that would render as inadmissible testimony from Ms. Clifford. “The People should be precluded from offering testimony from or regarding Stephanie Clifford, who has made clear through public statements that she intends to offer false, salacious, and unduly prejudicial testimony relating to President Trump,” Mr. Blanche wrote in the filing. Ms. Clifford wrote a tell-all memoir that included salacious details of her alleged tryst with the former president at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California, in 2006. She then promoted the book in a series of media interviews and talk show appearances, in which she claimed she was pressured to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for $130,000 in hush money payments. Ms. Clifford has also expressed enthusiasm to take the stand against President Trump.

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“You got to pay your bills,” Trump recalled telling the unnamed ally..”

EU Leaders ‘Scared To Death’ By Trump – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has criticized his predecessor Donald Trump’s comments on NATO as “absolutely bizarre,” after the Republican frontrunner said Washington should not defend its European allies who refuse to fulfill their military spending commitments. President Biden slammed his Republican rival during a “surprise” guest appearance on NBC’s ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ on Monday, insisting that Trump’s idea that the US is not obliged to protect its allies was “totally against our interest.” “I’ve known every major foreign leader for the longest time, and I know all these guys extremely well. They’re scared to death. What it means for them, for them, what it means if we walk away.” Biden said. “It is just outrageous what he is talking about.”

Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail was in line with his NATO-skeptic stance during his term in the White House. Speaking at a rally in South Carolina earlier this month, Trump recalled an encounter in which he supposedly told a European leader that unless that nation met the spending threshold, the US would consider it “delinquent” and not defend it in the event of a Russian attack. “In fact I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills,” Trump recalled telling the unnamed ally. Facing criticism for this “dangerous” and “un-American” stance, Trump doubled down with his verbal attack on low-spending members of the military bloc, arguing that the rest of NATO needs to send at least as much aid to Ukraine as the US does.

Trump also called on his loyalists in the US legislature to oppose any future assistance for Ukraine unless it includes a means to recoup the money. “They want to give them $60 billion more,” Trump said. “Why should you just hand it over to them? Do it as the form of a loan… If they can make it, they pay us back.” With Sweden clearing the final hurdle for accession this week, the trans-Atlantic alliance now has 32 member states, only two of which are located in North America. The organization recommends that each country spend at least 2% of GDP on military purposes, but even the wealthiest members such as Germany, France and Italy, have failed to meet the target for decades. However, smaller EU nations did ramp up their military spending during Trump’s presidency, something he has claimed as a personal diplomatic achievement.

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“Dr. John Gartner, a psychologist and former professor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, “suggested that it’s actually Trump, not President Biden, who seems to be showing signs of mental decline.”

Follow the McCaskill Rule on the Biden’s Use of False Story (Turley)

We recently discussed the call by MSNBC contributor and former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for the media to stop fact checking Joe Biden before the election. Some in the media appear to have gotten the McCaskill memo in running the false story repeated by Biden in his interview this week on NBC. What is particularly striking is that the President is again being accused of spreading disinformation, the very basis used by his Administration to censor critics and groups. His Administration even pushed LinkedIn to bar those who have spread disinformation. President Joe Biden’s interview on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” has produced the usual diametrically opposite reviews. On the left, he was witty, spontaneous, and fun. On the right, he was wooden, scripted, and feeble. However, there is a new controversy over the President repeating a debunked claim that his leading opponent, Donald Trump, cannot remember the name of his wife. He was not alone.

The usual media outlets repeated the false claim and then refused to correct their false stories. It follows a familiar pattern of media adopting the most absurd interpretation of remarks while ignoring the obvious meaning. President Biden has long been challenged over false statements that range from accusing mounted border agents of whipping migrants to claiming that his son died in Iraq to embellishing his own history. He was recently called out for falsely accusing Special Counsel Robert Hur for raising his son’s death. It was the President who raised the death. What is striking about this incidence is that the falsity of this story was immediately called out and some in the media had the integrity to identify it as disinformation. Yet, it did not matter to Biden or his staff. The interview seemed highly scripted and it appeared that the questions were given to Biden in advance by NBC (as demonstrated by Biden holding his aviator glasses in anticipation of a line from Meyers as a prop). If so, it appears that his staff also did not care that the story was untrue.

Biden is trying to control the damage after a special counsel cited his diminished faculties as a reason for not indicting him. On the show, this issue of the President’s age was gently raised and Biden responded: “Well, a couple things. Number one, you got to take a look at the other guy. He’s about as old as I am, but he can’t remember his wife’s name!” It was a reference to the claim that Trump called his wife Melania “Mercedes” during the keynote speech at a recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event. However, many pointed out that he was addressing Mercedes Schlapp, the wife of CPAC founder Matt Schlapp. The usual suspects spread the false claim such as Independent, Metro, and other sites as well as many on social media. Some liberal sites joyfully reported the false statement, opining “calling your wife by another woman’s name in bed or anywhere else is near most always a death sentence.

Trump called his wife, on stage and in front of a room full of people, Mercedes. Maybe he just confused to two because they’re both expensive to keep up when they get older.” Even for some of the outlets, the fact that it was untrue was only mentioned in passing while seemingly praising Biden for going on the attack on Trump. Salon ran an article entitled “He can’t remember his wife’s name!”: Biden turns the tables on Trump over age attacks, it then buried the fact that he was referring to Schlapp deep in the column. “Turning the tables” was using something that his own administration would consider malicious disinformation. Forbes said the President “flipped the script” on Trump with the attack. The usual experts came forward to issue medical judgments. Dr. John Gartner, a psychologist and former professor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, “suggested that it’s actually Trump, not President Biden, who seems to be showing signs of mental decline.”

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Doesn’t stop him from starting wars either.

Biden Needs Legal Authority From Congress to Act on Russian Assets – WH (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden requires legal authority from Congress to take action on frozen Russian assets, White House National Security Communications adviser John Kirby said on Tuesday. “I want to make a couple of things clear. Number one, we still need more legislative authorities from Congress for the President to be able to act on that [unlocking assets],” Kirby said during a press briefing. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier in the day that the Group of Seven countries should work together to explore different approaches to utilizing frozen Russian assets, including seizing and using them as collateral to borrow on global markets. Russia said it would view any move to seize or use its frozen assets as an “escalation of economic aggression” and would respond harshly.

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“The younger Biden proposed a list of billionaire investors for the new venture, including tycoons from China, Spain, Kazakhstan, Russia, South America, Africa and the Middle East.”

Hunter Biden Planned Global Hedge Fund to Benefit Joe (Sp.)

US president Joe Biden’s son Hunter plotted to set up a shadowy fund to cash in on his influence — so says a former business partner. Independent US media outlet Just the News has obtained a recent statement by Hunter Biden’s business associate Jason Galanis to the House impeachment inquiry.He said Hunter and his business buddies planned to build a global hedge fund with Joe Biden as its “central asset.” “The entire value-add of Hunter Biden to our business was his family name and his access to his father, Vice President Joe Biden,” Galanis told the House impeachment investigators. “Our objective was to build a diversified private equity platform, which would be anchored by a globally known Wall Street brand together with a globally known political name.” Hunter Biden sought “strategic relationships to the venture” with tycoons from all over the world, including from post-Soviet space.

Just the News quoted emails from Hunter Biden’s infamous “laptop from hell” which allegedly confirm the ambitious plan. “This is a global cooperation group that will assist each other in our respective regions in whatever manner possible,” Hunter’s other associate, Jeff Cooper, wrote in March 2014. The younger Biden proposed a list of billionaire investors for the new venture, including tycoons from China, Spain, Kazakhstan, Russia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. One of Hunter’s partners, Chinese businessman Xuejun “Henry” Zhao, showed interest in the plan based on the prospect that Joe Biden would join the venture after his vice presidential term ended. “Mr. Zhao was interested in this partnership because of the game-changing value add of the Biden family, including Joe Biden, who was to be a member of the Burnham-Harvest team post-vice presidency, providing political access in the United States and around the world,” Galanis said.

Galanis’s lawyer provided a draft email backing up the businessman’s testimony. “Michael, please also remind Henry [Zhao] of our conversation about a board seat for a certain relation of mine,” Hunter reportedly wrote. “Devon [Archer] and I golfed with that relation earlier last week and we discussed this very idea again and as always he remains very very keen on the opportunity.” According to Galanis, the “certain relation” was none other than Joe Biden. Even though the phrase was removed from the final email, it remained in Galanis’ records. The group’s plan to assemble a “dream team” of international billionaires and create a global Biden business empire took a serious knock when Archer and Galanis were charged and convicted of a plot to steal $43 million in tribal bonds. Hunter Biden avoided scrutiny despite “then-available documentation that we were partners, were involved in the decision making that involved illegal self-dealing, and all of us had financially benefited from these schemes,” Galanis claimed.

Galanis told House investigators that the illegal tribal bond scheme was part of a larger effort to create a financial platform for the Biden hedge fund. “In an effort to build this financial platform, I engaged in unlawful conduct. Our companies were entrusted with $11 billion of union members’ pension fund money whose trust I betrayed,” Galanis stated. “I pleaded guilty. I have had eight years in federal custody to reflect on my actions and I am profoundly sorry for my role.”


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“What Harvey sells at a high price is his outsized reputation —the prospect of power and influence..”

Joe Biden ‘The Closer’ In Hunter’s Corrupt Schemes (Fox)

In the hit TV series “Suits,” the lead character Harvey Specter is known as “the closer.” His underlings construct the lucrative agreements, but Harvey’s mere appearance in a room or a timely phone call always closes the deals. What Harvey sells at a high price is his outsized reputation —the prospect of power and influence. That appears to have been Joe Biden’s role in the numerous overseas schemes that netted tens of millions of dollars for his son and family. The elder Biden adopted a Specter-like modus operandi, according to evidence uncovered by the House impeachment investigation. That is, Hunter Biden solicited deals with foreign actors by selling access to his powerful dad and promises of influence. Joe would attend meetings or show up at dinners arranged with the benefactors. Sometimes he’d simply join in on a phone call. His presence signified his assent and participation, thus closing the deals.

Enormous sums of cash would immediately flow into Hunter-controlled banks accounts where the payola was funneled through a complex web of shell companies. Some of it was then distributed to Biden family members. In legal terms, the House Oversight and Judiciary committees portray Joe Biden as a witting accessory who actively aided and abetted the influence-peddling schemes by helping to sell the “Biden Brand.” Hunter associates Devon Archer and Tony Bobulinski have already testified in detail how the Bidens enriched themselves by marketing their own brand as the Washington DC power version of a Nike sports brand. The first son put it best in a WhatsApp message to his Chinese business partners when he bragged, “The Bidens are the best at doing exactly what (the) Chairman wants.”

As Harvey Specter liked to say, “It’s not bragging if it’s true.” And the Chinese knew that better than anyone. In one deal alone with the Beijing conglomerate CEFC China Energy, the Bidens hauled in $5 million. The money was wired only after Hunter sent an urgent missive armed with a thinly veiled threat, “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled.” For emphasis, Hunter then added, “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”

The CEFC transaction is especially illuminating because there are coded references to Joe Biden receiving a 10 percent cut of future profits that could have reached hundreds of millions of dollars. Two of Hunter’s former partners confirmed that Joe was “the Big Guy.” The IRS whistleblowers also verified it, although they complained that Biden’s Department of Justice tried to cover it up. Recently, Bobulinski testified, “The only reason any of these transactions took place…was because Joe Biden was in high office. The Biden family business was Joe Biden, period.” Bobulinski explained that the Vice President would call or meet with Hunter’s overseas partners “to demonstrate the ‘Biden Brand’ to whoever was in that meeting, whether it was the Ukrainians, the Romanians, the Russians, Colombians, Chinese, whoever it was. That’s all he had to do.”

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X thread. “Obama’s responsible for the border. He’s responsible for the whole crime epidemic. This is what he wanted. And Biden was very useful.”

The Obamas are RUNNING the Country (VDH)

“The Obamas are RUNNING the Country,” says military historian Victor Davis Hanson. Barack Obama said he wanted to serve a third term “in my basement in my sweats.” And he’s “living his dream” using Joe Biden as a “cardboard person they cut out,” declared @VDHanson. “Obama never moved the country as left as he wanted to. He was too timid, and he felt that he wasn’t yet ready. He would hurt his legacy if he didn’t get reelected. It was too dangerous. So now, with Joe Biden, he’s living his dream.” In November 2020, Barack Obama said to Stephen Colbert:

“And I used to say, ‘You know what, if I could make an arrangement where I had a stand-in, a front man or a front woman, and they had an earpiece in, and I was just in my basement with my sweats looking through the stuff, and I could sort of deliver the lines, but somebody else was doing all the talking and ceremony, I would be fine with that.’” “That’s what he’s doing right now,” remarked Hanson. “The Obamas are running the country. When my point is – they want Joe Biden the way he is because he’s a construct. He’s just a cardboard person they cut out and they plopped him down in the basement, and they make him move once in a while, and then they run all of the agency. Obama’s responsible for the border. He’s responsible for the whole crime epidemic. This is what he wanted. And Biden was very useful.”


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“..we do not understand what the American president’s optimism is based on.”

Israel, Hamas Contradict Biden Claim That Gaza Ceasefire Is Close (Sneineh)

U.S. President Joe Biden said that he hopes a ceasefire will be reached between Israel and Hamas by next week, which would end Israel’s aggression on Gaza and secure the release of the Israelis taken captive on October 7, 2023. “Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend, by the end of the weekend,” he told reporters. His comment came as an Israeli delegation flew for intensive talks to Qatar, which plays a mediator role along with Egypt. “My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not done yet. My hope is, by next Monday, we’ll have a ceasefire,” Biden added while visiting an ice cream shop in New York on Monday. Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been going on since December, but so far, they have not borne fruit. They have been hindered by the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Saleh Aruri in January, the ground invasion of Khan Younis, and most recently, the threats to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently sheltering.

Biden also said that Israel“agreed” to end its military operations in the Gaza Strip for almost six weeks, which include the months of Ramadan that starts on March 10 and ends on April 9. “Ramadan’s coming up, and there’s been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out,” Biden said. There have been a few frameworks for a deal between Israel and Hamas that have been leaked since December. The most recent one, but yet to be confirmed by either Israeli or Hamas officials, is a temporary truce for 40 days, the release of 40 Israeli hostages, five female soldiers, and 35 civilians, in return for 400 Palestinian prisoners.

Israel’s air force will cease flights over Gaza for eight hours a day, withdraw from several areas, and allow the gradual return of Palestinians to north Gaza, except men “who are at the age of enlistment for Hamas,” Yediot Ahronoth reported. The deal involves the entry of 500 trucks of humanitarian aid daily into Gaza, 200,000 tents for displaced families, and 60,000 mobile homes. In addition, Israel agreed to an American proposal to free 15 Palestinian national figures from Israeli jails in return for the release of five Israeli soldiers.

However, Israeli and Hamas officials met Biden’s optimistic language less enthusiastically. A senior Israeli official told Yedioth Ahronoth that “we do not understand what the American president’s optimism is based on.” Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas political chief, said the movement “will not allow the enemy to use negotiations as a cover for this crime”. Previously, Hamas described the optimism of reaching a deal as “far from the truth.” Biden’s comment seems to be more about the U.S. presidential race and less about ending the Israeli assault on Gaza. His campaign is attempting to win Muslim and Arab American voters in states such as Michigan, which votes today in a Democratic primary to choose the party’s presidential candidate, and where anger over the administration’s firm support of Israel’s war on Gaza is profound.

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“.. the French leader’s statement has had the opposite effect, especially after a large number of NATO representatives publicly stated that they were in no way considering sending their own soldiers to fight for Ukraine..”

Ukraine In ‘Catastrophic Situation’ – Zakharova (RT)

The current frontline situation is “monstrous” and “catastrophic” for Kiev and nothing can save it at this stage, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview with Sputnik radio station on Monday. According to her, even promises by French President Emmanuel Macron to send Western troops into Ukraine will not be enough to change the minds of the Ukrainian people, who have started to wake up to the fact that they have been betrayed by the West. The French leader had said this at a meeting of representatives from 20 Western nations, when Paris proposed the scenario of sending Western ground forces to Ukraine. Although a consensus on the proposal was not reached during that meeting, Macron has said that, in the future, such a scenario could not be ruled out.

Zakharova suggested that Macron’s statement was an attempt to send out a “bright” and “powerful statement that would somehow inspire people in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in the ranks of Ukrainian citizens being driven to slaughter” that the West would help them. However, according to the spokeswoman, the French leader’s statement has had the opposite effect, especially after a large number of NATO representatives publicly stated that they were in no way considering sending their own soldiers to fight for Ukraine. “The signal was exactly the opposite – that they betrayed Ukraine and will continue to use and betray it,” she said. Countries that have officially dismissed any notion of sending their troops to fight for Kiev include the UK, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Finland and Sweden, among others.

NATO’s own Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, has also shot down Macron’s statement, insisting that there are “no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.” Moscow, meanwhile, has warned that a direct conflict between Russia and NATO would become “inevitable” if the members of the US-led bloc decided to deploy their forces to Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that those who have opposed the move appear to have arrived at a “sober assessment of the potential risks” and realized that such a decision would be “absolutely against the interests of those nations” and their people. Russia has repeatedly stated that it considers the Ukraine conflict to be a Washington-orchestrated proxy war against Moscow, and has repeatedly warned that by supplying increasingly sophisticated weapons to Kiev, NATO members are drawing closer to a direct confrontation.

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“Navalny was a controversial character. Earlier in his political career, he was a prominent leader in xenophobic, far-right marches. He also appeared in a political video where he described the Muslim people of the Northern Caucasus as an “infestation of cockroaches.”

Media’s Selective Coverage Of Navalny and Lira (Macleod)

MintPress conducted a quantitative analysis of the media coverage of two political figures who recently died in prison: Alexey Navalny and Gonzalo Lira. Both were controversial characters and critics of the governments that imprisoned them. Both died under suspicious circumstances (their families both maintain they were effectively murdered). And both died in the past six weeks, Navalny in February and Lira in January. A crucial difference in their stories, however, is that Navalny perished in an Arctic penal colony after being arrested in Russia (an enemy state), while Lira’s life ended in a Ukrainian prison, abandoned by the pro-Kiev government in Washington, D.C. The study compared the coverage of Navalny and Lira’s death in five leading outlets: the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC News, Fox News, and CNN. These outlets were chosen for their reach and influence and, together, could be said to reasonably represent the corporate media spectrum as a whole.

The data was compiled using the Dow Jones Factiva news database and searches on the websites of the news organizations. This study takes no position on the matter of Navalny, Lira, or the Russia-Ukraine war. In total, the five outlets collectively ran 731 articles or segments that discussed or mentioned Navalny’s death, including 151 from the Times, 75 from the Post, 177 from ABC, 215 from Fox, and 113 from CNN. This means that each organization studied ran more than one piece per hour. This media storm stands in stark contrast to the Lira case, where the entire corporate media coverage of his death boiled down to a single Fox News article. Moreover, the article in question described him as “spreading pro-Russian propaganda” in its headline, did not inform readers that there was anything suspicious about his death, and appeared to be doing its best to justify his treatment in the body of the article. Aside from that, there was radio silence.

It is perhaps understandable that Navalny’s death was covered in much greater detail than Lira’s. Navalny was a political leader known across Russia and the world who died just weeks before the country’s presidential elections. Yet Lira was far from unknown. News anchor Tucker Carlson, for example, devoted an entire show to his imprisonment, while high-profile figures like Twitter owner Elon Musk took up his cause. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller has been repeatedly asked about Lira’s case and has failed to offer concrete answers. As an American living in Ukraine who took a pro-Russian line on the invasion, Lira built up a following of hundreds of thousands of people across his social media platforms.

As an American citizen who died while in the custody of a government that the U.S. has provided with tens of billions of dollars in aid, it could be argued that Lira’s case is particularly noteworthy for an American audience and should be given special attention. Moreover, Lira died more than one month before Navalny, meaning that the study compares more than 40 days of Lira coverage to just six days of coverage of Navalny’s death, making the disparity all the more glaring.

Alexey Navalny was a lawyer, activist and the leader of the opposition Russia of the Future Party. A fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, for many, especially in the West, he became a symbol of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Russia. In 2021, he released a documentary film alleging that Putin was building an enormous $1 billion palace on the Black Sea for himself. Navalny made many enemies and was allegedly poisoned in 2020. Although most in the West believe the Kremlin was behind the incident, this is not a commonly held view in Russia. After returning from Germany for medical treatment in January 2021, he was incarcerated. On. February 16, 2024, he died at the notorious Polar Wolf penal camp in Russia’s far north. “Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said in a statement, adding, “The most important thing we can do for Alexey and for ourselves is to keep fighting more desperately and more fiercely than before.”

Western leaders are largely of the same opinion. President Joe Biden said that, while the details are still unclear, “there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something Putin and his thugs did.” Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said that he was “brutally murdered by the Kremlin.” That’s a fact, and that is something one should know about the true nature of Russia’s current regime,” he added. Other politicians were more cautious. “Why this hurry to accuse someone?” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) asked. “If the death is under suspicion, we must first carry out an investigation to find out why this person died,” he said. Despite Lula’s warning, Western nations are already taking action against Russia. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have announced new rounds of “major sanctions” against Moscow, although it is far from clear to what extent previous sanctions actually hurt Russia.

Although he enjoyed a good reputation in the West, in his homeland, Navalny was a controversial character. Earlier in his political career, he was a prominent leader in xenophobic, far-right marches. He also appeared in a political video where he described the Muslim people of the Northern Caucasus as an “infestation of cockroaches.” While bugs can be killed with a slipper, in the case of human infestations, “I recommend a pistol,” he said before mimicking shooting one. According to a 2023 poll, just 9% of Russians held a positive view of him, compared to 57% who disapproved of his activities.

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“..something more sinister may be at play in shaping what violence we choose to focus on and condemn, and what violence we choose to overlook.”

The October 7th America Has Forgotten (Mazzarino)

We Americans have been at war now since October 7th, 2001. That was when our military first launched air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan in response to al-Qaeda’s September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. That’s 22 years and counting. The “war on terror” that began then would forever change what it meant to be an Arab-American here at home, while ending the lives of more than 400,000 civilians — and still counting! — in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the days after those September 11th attacks, the U.S. would enjoy the goodwill and support of countries around the world. Only in March 2003, with our invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, would much of the world begin to regard us as aggressors.

Does that sound like any other armed conflict you’ve heard about recently? What it brings to my mind is, of course, Israel’s response to the October 7th terror assault by the Islamic militant group Hamas on its border areas, which my country and much of the rest of the world roundly condemned. Many Americans now see the destruction and suffering in Gaza and Jewish settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank as the crises of the day and I agree. It’s hard even to keep up with the death toll in the Palestinian territories, but you can certainly give it a college try. More than 29,000 Gazans have already been killed, more than 12,000 of them reportedly children. The scale of the loss of civilian life has been breathtaking in what are supposed to be targeted missions.

For example, in mid-February, in an ostensible attempt to free two Israeli hostages in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where more than one million civilians are now sheltering under the worst conditions imaginable, Israeli troops killed 74 Palestinians. Between December 2023 and January 2024, four strikes there had already killed at least 95 civilians. And on and on it goes. Anyone with concerns about Israel’s response to Hamas’s bloody attacks has ground to stand on.

But if war deaths among people of color in particular are really that much of a concern to Americans, especially on the political left, then there are significant gaps in our attention. Look at what’s happening in the 85 countries where the U.S. is currently engaged in “counterterrorism” efforts of one sort or another, where we fight alongside local troops, train or equip them, and conduct intelligence operations or even air strikes, all of it in an extension of those first responses to 9/11. Ask yourself if you’ve paid attention to that lately or if you were even aware that it was still happening. Do you have any idea, for instance, that our country’s military continues to pursue its war on terror across significant parts of Africa?

Given Israel’s October 7th tragedy, my mention of that date in 2001, which marked Washington’s first military response to the worst terrorist attacks on our soil, is more than a play on words. Like Israel, the U.S. was attacked by armed Islamic extremists who sought to make gruesome spectacles of ordinary Americans. Some of them, like the Israeli families smoked out of their saferooms only to be shot, flung themselves from their office buildings in New York’s Twin Towers, essentially choosing the least awful deaths under the circumstances. Yet after decades of America’s war on terror, whose benefits have been, to say the least, questionable, our tax dollars continue to fund the longest and bloodiest response to terrorism in our history. Our own October 7th and its seemingly never-ending consequences suggest that something more sinister may be at play in shaping what violence we choose to focus on and condemn, and what violence we choose to overlook.

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“Prior to the sending of the 46th fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, Beijing’s response to Ansarallah’s maritime attacks had been relatively muted.”

China’s Unexpected Gains From The Red Sea Crisis

The Gaza war’s expansion into the Red Sea has created an international maritime crisis involving a host of countries. Despite a US-led bombing campaign aimed at deterring Yemen’s Ansarallah-aligned navy from carrying out missile and drone strikes in the Red Sea, the armed forces continue to ramp up attacks and now are using “submarine weapons.” As these clashes escalate dangerously, one of the world’s busiest bodies of water is rapidly militarizing. This includes the recent arrival to the Gulf of Aden of a Chinese fleet, including the guided-missile destroyer Jiaozuo, the missile frigate Xuchang, a replenishment vessel, and more than 700 troops – including dozens of special forces personnel – as part of a counter-piracy mission. Beijing has voiced its determination to help restore stability to the Red Sea.

“We should jointly uphold the security on the sea lanes of the Red Sea in accordance with the law and also respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries along the Red Sea coast, including Yemen,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized last month. As the largest trading nation in the world, China depends on the Red Sea as its “maritime lifeline.” Most of the Asian giant’s exports to Europe go through the strategic waterway, and large quantities of oil and minerals that come to Chinese ports transit the body of water. The Chinese have also invested in industrial parks along Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coasts, including the TEDA–Suez Zone in Ain Sokhna and the Chinese Industrial Park in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan City for Primary and Downstream Industries. Prior to the sending of the 46th fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, Beijing’s response to Ansarallah’s maritime attacks had been relatively muted.

China has since condemned the US–UK airstrikes against Ansarallah’s military capabilities in Yemen, and refused to join the western-led naval coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG). China’s response to mounting tension and insecurity in the Red Sea is consistent with Beijing’s grander set of foreign policy strategies, which include respect for the sovereignty of nation-states and a doctrine of “non-interference.” In the Persian Gulf, China has pursued a balanced and geopolitically neutral agenda resting on a three-pronged approach: enemies of no one, allies of no one, and friends of everyone. China’s position vis-à-vis all Persian Gulf countries was best exemplified almost a year ago when Beijing brokered a surprise reconciliation agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, in which it played the role of guarantor. In Yemen, although China aligns with the international community’s non-recognition of the Ansarallah-led government in Sanaa, Beijing has nonetheless initiated dialogues with those officials and maintained a non-hostile stance – unlike many Arab and western states.

Overall, China tries to leverage its influence in West Asian countries to mitigate regional tensions and advance stabilizing initiatives. Its main goal is ultimately to ensure the long-term success of President Xi Jinping’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and keep trade routes free of conflict. Often labeled by the west as a “free rider,” China is accused of opportunistically benefiting from US- and European-led security efforts in the Persian Gulf and the northwestern Indian Ocean without contributing to them. But given China’s anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden and its military base in Djibouti, this accusation isn’t entirely justified. Beijing’s motivations for staying out of OPG were easy to understand: first, China has no interest in bolstering US hegemony; second, joining the naval military coalition could upset its multi-vector diplomacy vis-à-vis Ansarallah and Iran; and third, the wider Arab–Islamic world and the rest of the Global South would interpret it as Chinese support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

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“The center is self-destructing and virtually now ushering in the far-right to take its place..”

Explosive Truth of US’ Nord Stream Sabotage Could ‘Destroy’ NATO (Sp.)

On Monday, Denmark became the second European country to officially close its investigation into the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. for Ukraine’s proxy war against Russia. Lazare lists a number of figures benefiting from the phenomenon, including Donald Trump in the US, Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Giorgia Meloni in Italy. In September 2022 a series of explosions disabled both branches of the Nord Stream pipeline between Russia and Germany. Completed in 2012, for almost a decade the pipeline provided Russian natural gas to Western Europe. Although the United States expressed unease over the act of cooperation between Russia and its European allies, the Nord Stream played a crucial role in fueling German industry and providing low-cost energy throughout the continent.

Observers immediately blamed the United States for the act of industrial sabotage, pointing to US President Joe Biden’s cryptic promise to “bring an end” to the project if Russia moved to intervene in Ukraine’s attacks on the ethnically Russian Donbass region. Denmark’s inquiry indeed found the explosions were an act of “deliberate sabotage,” although Danish officials refused to investigate who bore responsibility. Investigative journalist Dan Lazare joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to comment on the US ally’s report. “It’s just absolutely farcical,” said the iconoclastic author. “I don’t know how much longer this can go on. I mean, Denmark investigated, came up with a conclusion, and everybody knows it was obviously sabotage – that was obvious from the very start. And [Denmark] refrains from pointing a finger at a likely culprit.” “And the reason, of course, is the likeliest culprit – in fact, I’m 100% convinced that it is the culprit – is the United States,” he claimed. “But, Denmark, Sweden, everybody is afraid to say it. It’s extraordinary.”

Sweden, likewise a US ally, ended its own investigation into the Nord Stream disaster earlier this month, also without commenting on the culprit of the sabotage. Lazare said the United States’ guilt is obvious, but frequently ignored in order to safeguard relations between the US and Europe. That dynamic is playing to the benefit of far-right parties across the continent who are the only ones willing to openly acknowledge the US role in the act, according to Lazare. “The man or woman on the street knows perfectly well who did this, but the liberal centrist parties try to bottle it up, try to deny reality,” he explained. “Which means that the only parties talking about it [are] other parties, the populist parties on the far-right, like the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) in Germany. And the AfD actually is riding this issue rather hard.” “So if the AfD is climbing in the polls they have Joe Biden to thank because Joe Biden blew the pipeline up, and everyone’s afraid to admit it,” Lazare concluded.

The Alternative for Deutschland is one of a number of rightwing forces currently enjoying increased support in the West amidst economic hardship and the political establishment’s increasingly unpopular support for Ukraine’s proxy war against Russia. Lazare lists a number of figures benefitting from the phenomenon, including Donald Trump in the US, Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Giorgia Meloni in Italy. “The center is self-destructing and virtually now ushering in the far-right to take its place,” he said, claiming establishment lawmakers “are going to pay a terrible, terrible price for covering this [Nord Stream sabotage] up.” But Lazare insisted that liberal political parties are not the only institutions likely to be damaged by the explosive reality of the Nord Stream disaster. “The US engaged in an act of war against a fellow NATO member,” he claimed bluntly. “NATO members aren’t supposed to engage in war against one another. They’re supposed to guard against attacks by outsiders.”

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“..anyone, even a literal serial killer, can toss away the ID they used to get into Mexico from anywhere in the world, then claim asylum, say they have no documents and be ushered into America.”

Elon Musk Slams US-Mexico Border Security (RT)

The fact that illegal migrants can cross the US-Mexico border and claim asylum without any identification has effectively turned the US into a “refuge” for criminals, Elon Musk stated in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. His comments came in response to a recent Bloomberg article, shared by the X user EndWokeness, reporting that Venezuela is experiencing its lowest homicide rate in 22 years, now that many criminals and gangs have left as part of a massive wave of emigration prompted by economic hardship. EndWokeness commented on the report, stating “Venezuela has its lowest homicide rate in 22 years because their gangs are coming here.” Musk agreed and claimed that “the ability to discard your identification documents (from any country), walk across the southern border and claim ‘asylum’ has turned America into a refuge for the world’s worst criminals.”

In another post later that day, the billionaire doubled down on his statement, writing that “anyone, even a literal serial killer, can toss away the ID they used to get into Mexico from anywhere in the world, then claim asylum, say they have no documents and be ushered into America.” On Wednesday, the Tesla CEO also slammed a bill proposed by Democratic Senator Laphonza Butler, asking the Biden administration for more federal taxpayer money to provide beds for immigrants in San Diego after the county shelter ran out of funding. The senator warned that between 800 and 1,000 people residing in the shelter would be released per day otherwise.

“Dams are bursting all over the country,” Musk responded, noting that “America is only 4% of Earth’s population” and if just 1% of the rest of the Earth moves to the US, it would crush all of the country’s essential services. “I am ringing the alarm bell, because the flood of illegals is crushing the country,” he wrote. The state of the US-Mexico border has become one of the key issues in US politics over the past year amid a historic influx of millions of immigrants. Republican lawmakers have been demanding tighter controls and more money to be set aside to deal with the border crisis, prompting them to block a multi-billion-dollar aid package for Ukraine.

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