Sep 022023
 
 September 2, 2023  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


William-Adolphe Bouguereau La naissance de Vénus 1879

 

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)
White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)
Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)
Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)
Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)
Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)
US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)
Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)
African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)
Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)
History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)
JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)
BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

 

 

 

 

Sachs

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Tucker
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697603136276598857

 

 

DAX Anthony

 

 

 

 

17% of Americans got the latest booster. They’ve seen enough.

“..the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons..”

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)

In what might be one of his last official acts, “Joe Biden” announced last week that Americans would be “encouraged” to get a new-and-improved mRNA vaccine booster against the new Covid virus strain EG.5 “Eris” (named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord). The “president,” said he asked Congress for funding “for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works…. It will likely be recommended that everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.” Say, what…? Did the earlier vaccines not work, Joe? Most assuredly they did not. The shots injured, disabled, and killed a great many people, and it staggers the rational mind that the CDC is still pushing these shots. You might conclude that they’re pretending this didn’t happen to evade responsibility. After all, what would be the consequences if these officials admitted that all the previous Covid vaccines were ineffective and harmful?

And what would be the reaction of the 81.3 percent of the population who got at least one dose of the previous vaccines and the 65.6 percent who are “fully vaccinated” with two or more shots? (Note, statistics from the CDC.) I’ll tell you what would happen: the CDC officials and a great many other persons on the public payroll would be in court on criminal charges. And doctors and hospitals would be subject to so many lawsuits they would never again have time to actually practice medicine, while millions of people with damaged immune systems and wrecked organs take flight like so many black swans flapping into the setting sun of their own prematurely attenuated lives. If you care to be astounded, listen to this talk that Dr. Peter McCullough gave to an audience in New Hampshire a few days ago, calling out all the principals who devised the Covid-19 fiasco by name: Ralph Baric, Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszek, and Francis Collins, and then describing exactly how the dastardly act and the cover-up went down.

Speaking of happenings this autumn, expect the war in Ukraine to come to an end. The news media might omit to inform you about this, but it awaits. Russia will not trumpet its victory, so as to avoid inflaming America’s crazed neo-cons. Rather it will just quietly take charge of its successfully neutralized neighbor, make provision for some sort of administration over what remains of the rump state — in a way that affords Russia a sense of permanent security — at the same time that Russia commences new negotiations separately with several European nations to reestablish realistic relations.

The US will be delicately hung out to dry on this. Short of resorting to nuclear World War Three, there is nothing the US can do about it — except for the Democratic Party to blame the whole sorry thing on “Joe Biden” as he is forced to resign from office pending that aforesaid impeachment threat. No other explanation for the end of our Ukraine project will be required. The party of chaos will flounder a while in the very chaos that it induced, trying laughably to switch out Kamala Harris for Gavin Newsom — or some other ploy to stay in business. But the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons and save the venerable old org from suicide.

If you think that these various momentous happenings won’t affect the financial markets and the banking system in the coming season, prepare to be amazed. This is how America truly gets to feel the pain, and this might be how the pitchforks finally come out for the people who wrecked our country.

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Nobody believes McCarthy will actually do it. “He ain’t no Nancy”. He’ll ask for a vote first.

White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)

The White House has brought together two dozen legal and media experts to combat an expected Republican effort to impeach US President Joe Biden, NBC reported on Friday, citing a White House aide familiar with the administration’s strategy. According to eight inside sources, the counter-impeachment strategy has reportedly been under development for several months as House Republicans have attempted to investigate the president and his son, Hunter Biden, and their foreign business entanglements. The White House aide who revealed the project to NBC also shared its ultimate goal: to present any impeachment inquiry as an “evidence-free partisan sham that shows a [Republican Party] penchant for chaos.”

The administration’s response will show that its opponents are “out of touch,” one official explained, by juxtaposing Republican attacks on Biden with the president’s work on “economic issues” that affect ordinary Americans. The team has been constructed to prevent any impeachment inquiry from interfering in White House business, the aide explained. This is supposed to allow administration officials to concentrate on their jobs without being “bogged down in the minutia of ongoing investigations.” “Never in modern history has an impeachment been based on no evidence whatsoever,” the aide told the news outlet, implying that taking on the Bidens would constitute such an impeachment.

White House aides on the counter-impeachment team have reportedly spent August’s vacation researching Republican talking points, putting together a message and response team to fight back. They have commissioned polls and studied political ads in the hope of disseminating a unified message supporting Biden to the Democratic Party. The Republican investigation into Biden and his son initially focused on the younger Biden’s alleged crimes, which – according to evidence gathered from a laptop he left in a Delaware repair shop, at least – include influence peddling and corruption as well as more pedestrian drug, gun, and prostitution offenses.

Hunter Biden has not been convicted of anything related to the current investigation, though he was about to enter a guilty plea on tax evasion and gun charges last month before a judge balked at the sweetheart deal he had worked out with prosecutors which would see him avoid a custodial sentence or felony conviction entirely. An issue for an impeachment would be the extent to which the elder Biden was involved in his son’s business deals in countries like Ukraine and China, deals which were directly affected by the policies Joe Biden was making as Vice President under then-president Barack Obama. While the president has denied any knowledge of or participation in his son’s professional activities, email records, as well as the testimony of Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer, contradict his public statements on the matter.

Comer

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MTG is, let’s say, a unique voice.

Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)

Republican firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has consistently spoken out against sending more arms supplies to Ukraine. After the Biden administration signed off on the delivery of DPICM cluster munitions to Kiev in July, the congresswoman warned that Washington was dragging the US into an unwanted war with Russia. US President Joe Biden has every single American “involved in a proxy war with Russia” that Moscow “is winning,” Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told an audience gathered at a town hall meeting in Floyd County on August 31. The politician, who has been staunchly opposed to how the Biden administration has been bankrolling the regime in Kiev, told constituents: The Republican politician went on to point out that the intelligence community was blatantly “lying” to Americans, claiming that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, wants to “take over Europe.” “If that was the case… He would be much more aggressive in the war, and he’s not,” the politician, also known by her initials, MTG, emphatically stressed.

“Now, I’m old enough to remember, and I know you are. Every single foreign war America has been involved in… What did we see on television? … Bombing after bombing. Remember all that? Do you guys remember we watched the rockets being fired… We watched troops fighting… How many of you have been able to watch the war in Ukraine that you’re paying for on the nightly news? None of you. You want to know why? America is being lied to about that war. Here’s the tragedy. They’re losing. Russia is winning. That’s the truth,” stated the Georgia congresswoman. MTG weighed in on the cost-of-living issues plaguing the people of America, saying that “energy bills are going up, your groceries are going up… inflation is hurting you. You’re watching your retirement money shrink to nothing because inflation’s going up.” Pointing out that the US federal government was mired in debt “worth $32 trillion,” she queried: “Are we going to end up in another war?”

[..] Reacting to the latest exorbitant military assistance for Ukraine announcement, Marjorie Taylor Greene told the gathering on constituents on August 31: “Washington has sent $113 billion over there. 113 billion. I voted no to every single penny of it. No, I said, no.” She added that there were “innocent people dying every single day” in the Ukraine conflagration. Indeed, despite the massive military assisstance to Kiev, the Ukrainian counteroffensive that started in June has brought no tangible results so far, with the costly Western-gifted weapons destroyed by Russia’s military. The Ukrainian military has sustained tremendous losses, including over 43,000 troops dead and even more wounded. “… But what funding that war means is means we are funding death. We are funding the murder of innocent people,” the congresswoman stressed to the crowd. If the “arrogant leaders” in Washington continue to fund the Ukraine conflagration at the rate they are doing it now, it’s “going to drag on for decades,” said MTG.

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She’s not wrong here.

Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)

As BRICS gains momentum, the US economy becomes weaker because the members of the grouping can circumvent American sanctions and trade in their own currencies, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Thursday. Speaking to her constituents in Georgia, the Republican congresswoman lashed out at the administration of US President Joe Biden, which she said is turning a blind eye to the rise of BRICS – an economic group which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa and accounts for more than a quarter of global GDP. The Republican firebrand claimed that while the Washington is “doing… nonsense” – including providing all kinds of support to Ukraine which is locked in a conflict with Russia – “there are other countries in the world, powerful countries, organizing together because they are tired of the United States.”

In this sense, the BRICS countries are making serious trade agreements “where they are saying: we’ll buy from you, you’ll buy from us, we don’t care about US sanctions and we’ll sell to one another, buy and sell in our own currency, not the US dollar,” she stated. “This is one of the most devastating things that can happen to all of us,” Greene claimed. As BRICS becomes more powerful, the US dollar gets weaker, she said. “And you know what happens to all of us? We’re going to go broke,” the congresswoman predicted, adding that this dynamic will negatively affect the retirement plans and personal savings of ordinary Americans. “What is going to happen to our children, when the US dollar means nothing anymore, because Russia, and China, and India with its huge population of billions of people have more buying power in their own currencies than we do?

This is a very serious concern,” Greene said. The congresswoman’s remarks come on the heels of a historic BRICS summit in South Africa, where the group agreed to an unprecedented expansion, admitting six new countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – which will become full-fledged members in 2024. In a declaration summarizing the summit, BRICS, which has historically positioned itself as an alternative to Western-dominated international institutions, reaffirmed its commitment to inclusiveness, while expressing support for the “legitimate aspirations” of African, Asian, and Latin American countries to play a more prominent role in the global arena.

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“An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.”

Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)

The US Senate is “the most privileged nursing home in the country”, the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said. The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, 51, was speaking to Fox News a day after the Republican leader in the Senate, 81-year-old Mitch McConnell, suffered a second freeze in a month, this time while speaking to reporters in Kentucky. “What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,” Haley said. “I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things, and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.”

On Thursday, the congressional physician said McConnell was clear to work, perhaps while suffering the after-effects of concussion, sustained in a fall in March, or dehydration. Other falls have been reported, including a “face plant” at a Washington airport, but McConnell has said he will complete his current six-year term, his seventh, which ends in 2026. It was reported on Thursday that some Republican senators were discussing whether to force a confrontation on the issue of their leader’s health. Haley said: “No one should feel good about seeing [McConnell’s freezes] any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline.”

Feinstein, 90, is a Democrat and the senior senator from California. Her health and mental capacity long in question, she has said she will retire next year. Biden, 80, is the oldest president ever elected and would be 86 by the end of his second term if he wins re-election. A recent poll showed that more than 75% of Americans think he is too old to run again. This week, the Guardian reported a claim in a new book that Biden has privately admitted he is occasionally tired. The current Senate is the oldest in US history. An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.

Polling shows support for upper age limits for elected officials. Haley has called for mental competency tests for candidates over 75, though aiming such remarks more at Biden than Trump, the 77-year-old Republican frontrunner. “I wouldn’t care if they did [tests] over the age of 50,” Haley told Fox News. “But these people are making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on our economy, on the border. “We need to know they’re at the top of their game. You can’t say that right now, looking at Congress.”

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Russian hardliners are going to get tired of this.

Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)

Kiev should bring the ongoing hostilities with Moscow to Russian territory, the head of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) has said, contradicting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s earlier statement. Both officials’ comments, however, come as Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of staging numerous “terrorist attacks” inside Russia. In an interview with Ukrainian TV anchor Natalya Moseichuk, Kirill Budanov touted a transfer of military action to Russian territory as an “excellent idea.” “The war must be extended to other territory – which for us is clearly Russia – and other areas where they have influence,” he said. According to Budanov, such a tactic would help Ukraine stretch and paralyze Russian forces. “The wider the operations are, the better,” the intelligence official added.

Budanov’s remarks starkly contrast with Zelensky’s comments last month when he ruled out attacks on Russian territory, explaining that this “would pose a great risk that we would be left alone” without the West’s help. Around the same time, however, Mikhail Podoliak, a top aide to the Ukrainian leader, said that Kiev’s Western backers supported the destruction of “everything Russian” in the territories it deems “occupied,” including the Crimean Peninsula, a statement the Kremlin shrugged off as wishful thinking. Russian territory, including Moscow, has come under recurring drone raids targeting civilian facilities in recent months. Ukraine has stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks, with Podoliak blaming “unidentified” aircraft instead.

In addition to aerial attacks, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of attempting to stage incursions into border regions, resulting in intense skirmishes and civilian deaths. In one notable example, in May, a Ukrainian saboteur group infiltrated the Belgorod region, killing one civilian and injuring several others. Kiev claimed this was an operation conducted by the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), comprised of neo-Nazi militants and another collaborationist group called the “Freedom of Russia Legion.”

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Yeah, attack Russian territory with these…

US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)

The US is set to become the second country after the UK to greenlight shipments of depleted-uranium shells to Ukraine, according to Reuters, despite concerns that such munitions could have a dramatic negative effect on public health and the environment. The munitions are intended for US Abrams tanks, first of which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, the agency reported. According to several unnamed US officials and a “document” cited by Reuters on Saturday, the depleted uranium shells will be part of the next multi-million dollar arms donation expected to be announced next week. The reported plan follows another highly controversial US move to cluster munitions to Ukraine, which had been criticized even by some of Washington’s closest allies.

Should the US approve depleted-uranium shells for Ukraine, it would follow an earlier move by the UK, which announced similar shipments in March. The UK’s decision left Moscow furious, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that the delivery would be “taking this escalation to a new and very serious stage.” Russia’s embassy in London accused the US and its allies of being willing to turn Ukraine into “not only an anti-Russian military shooting range, but also a radioactive landfill.” When these toxic shells first showed up in Ukraine, Moscow warned that the UK “will be held accountable” for the irreparable harm caused to civilians and soldiers alike. However, both UK and US officials have disputed health hazards associated with DU shells – which use a dense uranium core to improve their armor-piercing capabilities – and deny studies that the weapons were linked to a spike in cancer and birth defects in Iraq.

In the wake of the British move, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would respond by placing tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. He noted that in this respect Moscow’s actions do not differ from those of the US, which has nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries. Moscow said it will only remove these weapons if the US removes its own nuclear missiles from Europe and dismantles the infrastructure associated with them. Ukraine’s Western backers claim that they are not directly participating in the conflict in Ukraine, and have avoided providing certain weapons – notably fighter jets and long-range missiles – that would risk provoking a direct clash with Russia. Nevertheless, they have sent Kiev more than $100 billion worth of arms, while ignoring Moscow’s repeated warnings that every subsequent weapons package brings the US and NATO closer to active participation in the conflict. Furthermore, by enabling Ukraine’s drone attacks on Russian civilians, Western nations have become “sponsors of terrorism,” according to the Kremlin.

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How much of your money, that is.

How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)

The Russian military has reported a major uptick in Ukraine’s recruitment of foreign mercenaries. Estimates on just how much these ‘soldiers of fortune’ get paid vary wildly, from less than $1,000 a month to $2,000 per day. Sputnik did a little digging and spoke to a pair of veteran military experts to try to get to the bottom of things. A Bundeswehr vet who volunteered to fight alongside the Ukrainian Army gave a tell-all interview to German media recently, revealing the surprisingly low going rate of foreigners taking part in NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine “It depends on how much time you spend on the front lines. There is a principle of combat payments – that is, they pay for each day spent in battle…Per month, it turns out to about €2,000-€2,500 euros. For Ukraine, this is quite a lot,” the mercenary said.

He added that troops who spend more time on the front can get even more, up to about €3,000 (or $3,260), per month. The merc’s testimony seems to match up with figures put out in February by Russia’s Investigative Committee, which has been collecting information on potential war crimes in Ukraine. According to investigators’ figures, foreigners in Ukraine receive between 30,000 and 100,000 hryvnia (about $815-$2,710). The Investigative Committee launched criminal cases against 160 mercs from 33 different countries, including Georgia, the US, Latvia, Israel and Sweden related to suspected crimes against Russian troops and civilians.

The ballpark figures have also been separately confirmed in an investigation by French media this summer, which uncovered that mercs attached to Ukraine’s infamous International Legion receive a base salary of €500 euros, and up to €3,000 a month when they’re on the front lines. Volunteers also complained about having to pay out of pocket for vehicles, supplies and even small arms, notwithstanding the nearly $100 billion in aid doled out by the West to date for weapons. The monthly figures are a far cry from the smattering of information reported during the early stages of the crisis last year, including reporting by British media in March 2022 on payments of up to $2,000 per day plus bonuses for multilingual former soldiers willing to head to Ukraine to engage in extraction operations.

It also challenges the traditional range of “security contractor” job postings, which similarly cite a pay rate of $500-$1,000 per day, equivalent to a six-figure salary when annualized (assuming that the fighter lives that long). “$1,000-$2,000 a month, I think, is kind of low. If you told me that’s for a day, I’d say okay, I can see that. Maybe a little on the high side, but up to that amount for a commander or something, yes, I can see that. But if you’re talking on a per month basis, actually it’s quite low for a mercenary type of situation,” Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel-turned international consultant with over two decades of military experience, told Sputnik.

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“Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.”

Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)

More than 90% of Western businesses that were present in Russia before the conflict with Ukraine broke out are still operating in the country, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Thursday. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schallenberg also highlighted Russian companies are still active in Austria and Germany, while Vienna’s dependence on gas supplies from the sanctions-hit country remains high. “Exit from the Russian market is a far more complicated process than it is often described,” Schallenberg said. Austria’s reliance on Russian gas supplies has been reduced but still amounts to 50%, the minister said, stressing that the landlocked country cannot build LNG terminals, unlike some fellow EU member states.

“All in all, only 12% of Austria’s energy requirements are covered by Russian gas supplies,” the minister added. “We have created strategic gas reserves, and won’t face intermittent power outages during the upcoming winter.” Earlier this year, Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.” The minister defended the right of Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria’s second-largest lender, to continue operating in Russia, as it is one of only two foreign banks that is systemically important for the Russian economy, along with pan-European commercial bank UniCredit. “To think that there won’t be Russia anymore and we can decouple in all areas is delusional,” he stated in a March interview with Reuters.

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It all fell apart with the murder of Gaddafi.

African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)

French prosecutors have just charged former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded Western support for the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, over alleged Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Time sure does fly! It seems like it was just yesterday that the Libyan leader was visiting Sarkozy at the Élysée in the wake of Sarkozy’s 2007 election victory, insisting on making himself comfortable in a traditional Bedouin tent on the lawn of the lavish state guest house. Sarkozy had made a trip to Tripoli himself just a few months earlier, barely weeks after taking office. His spokesman called France and Libya’s anti-terrorist cooperation a “longtime common combat.”

But suspicions about Sarkozy’s motives for leading the regime change charge arose in 2012, when Libyan intelligence officials implicated French agents in the capture and killing of Gaddafi in October 2011, alleging a cover-up related to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Anonymous European officials also started singing the same tune to the Western press. When former US president Barack Obama took office in 2009, Paris insiders said that, given his focus on containing China, Obama delegated much of Africa to the French and Brits – who promptly screwed things up. And Obama was still talking about those screwups in 2016 when he told The Atlantic in an interview that he “had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” in the wake of the French- and UK-backed coup against Gaddafi.

Obama underscored, in the same interview, just how easy it was to “purchase France’s involvement in a way that made it less expensive for us and less risky for [America]” – just by allowing Sarkozy to take credit for the coup. The idea that France or a French president can be “purchased” seems relevant here. These events in Libya should also raise questions about the recent coup in Gabon and the role of France in creating the conditions that ultimately gave rise to it. As with Libya and Gaddafi, Sarkozy also seemed to have an odd fixation with Gabon, making three visits to the country between his election in mid-2007 and February 2010, including shortly after Ali Bongo took power in 2009, with 42% of the vote, in the wake of his father Omar’s death. Kind of weird for a French president whose predecessor, Jacques Chirac – who loved Africa so much he built the Musée du Quai d’Orsay in tribute to it – had lamented his lack of interest in the continent.

“The main interest of my trip is to reaffirm loyalty. I want to show that France is faithful,” Sarkozy said during one of those visits to Gabonese President Ali Bongo in 2010. In the wake of these new corruption charges, it seems that French “loyalty” in the case of Libya may have been tied directly to French presidential or special interests. And, by some accounts, that could also be the case with Gabon.

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“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success..”

Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)

Africa, especially west Africa, has a strong sense of collective identity. Trends in one country have a way of spreading across the continent. Therefore, It might or might not be a coincidence that the military takeover in Gabon on Wednesday came just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron took a tough stance vis-a-vis the generals in power in Niger. Macron not only scoffed at the generals’ demand seeking removal of the French envoy in Niamey and the French troops numbering 1500 personnel in that country but threatened to attack Niger. Apparently, Macron meant business. AFP had reported last week the stern warning by the spokesman for the French general staff, Colonel Pierre Gaudillière, that “French military forces are ready to respond to any resurgence of tension that would undermine French military and diplomatic bases in Niger” and that “measures have been taken to protect these bases”.

But the generals in Niamey hit back despatching a communication to the French foreign ministry that Macron’s envoy, Ambassador Sylvain Itté “no longer enjoys the privileges and immunities attached to his status as a member of the diplomatic staff of the French Embassy”; his “diplomatic cards and visas” and those of his family members “are cancelled”; and, the Niger police “have been instructed to proceed with the expulsion” of Itté. It is a humiliating rebuff to Macron. He has no option now but to dial back his threat. A bloodbath in Niger to vent his anger at the deportation of his ambassador will be disastrous for France’s international standing. Besides, a “known unknown” factor also comes into play which will make Paris (and Washington) think twice — the ghost of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. This needs explaining.

Although no credible source has linked Russia to the coup in Niger, its strong connection with interventions in African countries — Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali and Libya — through the Wagner group leaves unanswered questions. This of course brings up the circumstances of the plane crash of Prigozhin in mysterious circumstances, which Russian investigators now estimate as an act of sabotage. There is no question that Prigozhin was an obstacle to the US/NATO plans in Africa. John Varoli, former foreign correspondent for New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters TV (who was based in Moscow from 1992 to 2013 and was “trained as a US foreign policy expert with a focus on Russia and Ukraine”) wrote a riveting blog in Substack recently where he concluded on the following lines:

“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success. Relations with African leaders are built on Prigozhin’s personal charisma… Likewise, by eliminating Prigozhin and his top officers, NATO has dealt a blow to the Kremlin’s ambitions in Africa… Like with any high-profile assassination, we will never know the full truth. But one thing is for certain — the U.S., certain NATO members and Ukraine benefit the most from Prigozhin’s demise, while the Kremlin gains absolutely nothing. All available information points to Western involvement and guilt.”

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All roads lead to Africa.

History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)

Another conflict with escalatory potential involves the state of Niger, located in the Sahara desert. A recent military coup d’état overthrew the elected government several weeks ago (although the coup leaders contend the election was fraudulent). Some surveys show that the military junta enjoys broad popular support. Niger is France’s largest supplier of uranium, while France is one of the largest builders of nuclear power plants in the world. France desperately needs to restore order in Niger, including forcing the junta to step aside and reinstate the elected government. France has special forces including the French Foreign Legion ready to intervene. However, France does not want to proceed unilaterally, and is trying to recruit African allies to join the invasion.

The most significant regional grouping is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which includes both Francophone states like Senegal and Côte D’Ivoire and important Anglophone states such as Nigeria. France is recruiting ECOWAS to participate in its invasion of Niger. ECOWAS members are divided on the idea. In any case, ECOWAS action would require approval of the African Union and possibly the United Nations as well as weeks of mobilization. So no military action is likely for several months at the earliest. There’s no evidence that Russia was involved in the Niger coup, but Russia certainly stands as a major beneficiary. Russia is the other large manufacturer of nuclear power plants in addition to France. Russia gets its uranium from inside Russia, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian republics. (Russia also owns large amounts of U.S. uranium deposits obtained in a deal authorized by Hillary Clinton in exchange for huge donations to the Clinton Foundation).

If Russia can cut off France’s access to Nigérien uranium, it will tighten its hold on global uranium supplies and enhance its position as a provider of nuclear power plants. There is some talk now (not confirmed) that Russia may offer support to the Nigérien coup, including possible deployment of the Wagner Group mercenary army. That would greatly complicate any plans for French or ECOWAS involvement. Again, we would have the specter of Russia (via Wagner) and France (a NATO member) squaring off in a war for uranium in the Sahara desert. The escalatory potential is obvious. By the way, the bloodthirsty Victoria Nuland visited Niger recently and was not warmly received. She departed the country empty-handed. No doubt she left some threats of U.S. support for the French behind.

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“The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead..”

OK, what makes them suspicious? And isn’t there a law that says these MUST be reported -when they happen, not 16 years later?!

Also: what are the names on the transfers? We don’t get even one?

JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)

JPMorgan flagged over $1 billion in suspicious transactions linked to deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which the bank reported to the US government, the US Virgin Islands has claimed in its lawsuit against the bank. “JPMorgan was a full-service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking,” said Mimi Liu, an attorney for the USVI, which says the enormous sum bolsters key allegations in their legal action against the bank, which they say knowingly benefited from Epstein’s wrongdoing, Bloomberg reports, noting that this is the first time in the case that the ‘sheer volume of Epstein’s financial activity at JPMorgan over a 16-year period has been disclosed.’ The suspicious activity was detailed in a 2019 filing to the US Department of Treasury, a USVI attorney told a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

The filing was made after Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Epstein had been with the bank from the late 1990s through 2013, when they finally cut ties with him. Epstein notoriously trafficked some of his victims to a private island in the USVI. JPMorgan denies that it let Epstein’s activities slide, and says it reported around 150 cash transactions to a federal regulator between 2002 and 2013. Last month, the USVI told the judge in the case that the bank facilitated over $1.1 million in payments from Jeffrey Epstein to “girls or women,” many of whom had Eastern European surnames. Over $320,000 of the payments were made to “numerous individuals for whom JPMorgan had no previously identified payments,” Singer wrote, accusing the bank of failing to disclose the payments until after the end of discovery – the period in which parties in a lawsuit exchange evidence.

The bank claims that’s irrelevant, because the USVI doesn’t have legal standing to claim JPMorgan obstructed a trafficking investigation because it wasn’t a victim. That said, Liu is urging the judge in the case to decide various claims in the USVI’s favor without a trial. “The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead,” she said. JPMorgan claims they had no idea what Epstein was up to – pointing to depositions from current and former employees who say they had no knowledge of the trafficking. “There is hotly disputed testimony and evidence,” said Feliia Ellsworth, an attorney for the bank.

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BRICS and human rights.

BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

In Egypt, there are over 60,000 political prisoners and arbitrary detentions. There is also torture, enforced disappearances, death sentences; the persecution of independent journalists and the repression of any dissent are the order of the day. In Iran, the protests following the murder of the young Masha Amini were brutally repressed, leading to several death sentences after show trials. Here too, arrests (often of journalists, accused of documenting protests and abuses), torture, and enforced disappearances, not to mention discrimination against women and the persecution of gays and lesbians are widespread. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy where human rights are systematically violated, freedom of expression is attacked and women are discriminated against by law.

Here too there are unfair trials, arbitrary detentions and death sentences often imposed for simply participating in sit-ins and protests. With the bombings in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has also caused massacres of civilians and one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world. In the UAE, consensual same-sex relationships between adults are criminalized and political dissidents are subjected to abuse, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. Press freedom is hindered and limited by controls and bans. In India, democracy is degenerating into an increasingly totalitarian form and aims to transform a multilingual and multireligious country into a monolithic entity dominated by a fanatical Hindu party. Protests and dissent are repressed and religious and ethnic minorities persecuted.

As of 2022, the NGO Reporters Without Borders ranks China as one of the ten countries in the world with the least freedom of the press. In Russia, conscientious objectors and all those who refuse to participate in the war against Ukraine are persecuted, arrested and imprisoned. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa are the only BRICS members to have abolished the death penalty. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and annexed it in 1959, bloodily suppressing the revolt of the population; a situation that continues today. Russia has been carrying on an invasion war in Ukraine for over a year that has caused thousands of dead and wounded and terrible devastation, which is countered by an equally criminal warmongering policy by NATO, the European Union and the United States.

Currently, only Brazil and South Africa are among the 92 signatories and 68 states parties to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Among the remaining BRICS members India, Russia and China are nuclear powers with expanding arsenals.

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