Nov 032023
 
 November 3, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  49 Responses »


Hieronymus Bosch The Conjurer 1502

 

Russia’s UN Envoy: Israel Doesn’t Have Right to Self-Defense (Sp.)
Israel Already Lost Gaza Battle Even Before Eviction Plan Leaked – Journo (Sp.)
Russia Calls To Immediately Stop Bloodshed In Middle East — UN Envoy (TASS)
Biden Ignores Rabbi’s Call For Gaza Ceasefire (RT)
Israel-Hamas Conflict May Cost Global Economy $2 Trillion – Ernst & Young (RT)
Netanyahu Ordered To Track, Kill All Hamas Leaders 2 Weeks Ago – Hersh (TASS)
Red Cross ‘Has No Right To Exist’ If It Can’t Reach Hostages – Israel (RT)
Global Anti-Hamas Coalition Pushed By Macron Is A Bad Idea (Marsden)
House Passes Resolution That Suggests Using Force Against Iran (Antiwar)
Russians Have Never Had More Confidence In The Army Since World War II (Helmer)
Ex-Wagner Fighters Create Detachment Within Chechen Special Forces (Az.)
Ukraine’s Top General Admits Russia Has The Advantage (RT)
Zelensky Lies About Mass Support For His “Peace Formula” – Russian FM (TASS)
Judge Hints at Possible Delay in Trump’s Classified Documents Case (Sp.)
Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty On All Counts (ZH)

 

 

 

 

KidsKilled

 

 

 

 

Che daughter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1720047358111777082

 

 

Meloni

 

 

 

 

Trump

 

 

 

 

Nebenzia says Israel is an “occupying power” in Gaza and as such has no right to self-defense.

Israel says it’s not an “occupying power,” “given that the State of Palestine is a partially-recognized state and is classified as a “non-member observer state” by the United Nations..”

Is that why the two-state solution was never implemented? To deny them their rights?

“We do not deny Israel the right to fight terrorism. But fight terrorists, not civilians..”

Russia’s UN Envoy: Israel Doesn’t Have Right to Self-Defense (Sp.)

Vassily Nebenzia called the US and its allies out for utter hypocrisy on Wednesday. According to the Russian ambassador, in crisis situations, Western countries are quick to lecture others to comply with humanitarian law and establish investigative commissions; they also rush to “impose sanctions against those who use force only as an extreme measure to stop the years-long violence.” However, in the case of Gaza, the US stayed mum about “the horrifying destruction in Gaza, which exceeds everything that they criticize in other regional contexts multifold – strikes on civilian facilities, the death of thousands of children and the horrifying suffering of civilians amid a total blockade.” The only focus of the US and its satellites is Israel’s right to self-defense, Nebenzia pointed out.

Still, there is the legal rub, according to him: under the international law Israel “does not have the right to self-defense” as an “occupying power” as per the International Court consultative ruling of 2004. Nebenzia then clarified that Russia recognizes “Israel’s right to ensure its security”, emphasizing the necessity of “a fair resolution of the Palestinian problem based on recognized UN Security Council resolutions.” “Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia is correct in stating that Israel is an occupying state, whose occupation of Palestine has been declared illegal in countless United Nations resolutions,” Professor Alfred de Zayas, a former UN Independent Expert on International Order, told Sputnik. “Israel’s obligation under Security Council Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 is to withdraw from the occupied territories and to allow the practical implementation of the right of self-determination of the Palestine People, an inalienable right anchored in articles 1,55, Chapters XI and XII of the UN Charter as well as in Article 1 common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).”

“It is important to recall the ruling of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 9 July 2004 reaffirming the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people and documenting the serial violations of the UN Charter and international law perpetrated by Israel. Notwithstanding the clear language of the ICJ, Israel has not implemented any of the specific ICJ rulings, and has been able to flout the UN again and again because the United States has abused its veto right in the Security Council (approximately 80 times!) to shield Israel from condemnation and UN sanctions,” the retired UN independent expert continued. De Zayas observed that within the framework of the court’s rulings, Israel doesn’t have the right to self-defense, but should be guided by international regulations for an “occupying power.” The issue has repeatedly been raised at the UN by Palestinian diplomats.

On May 21, 2021, UN Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour insisted in his letter to the international body that “the principle of self-defense cannot be applied by Israel to itself in the occupied territory of the State of Palestine.” “As reaffirmed by the Security Council in its resolution 1860 (2009), the Gaza Strip is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967,” the letter read. Mansour argued that as an “occupying power” Israel is “bound by the relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and all other relevant provisions of international law, including United Nations resolutions.” International law stipulates that “occupying states” have increased responsibilities to protect local populations and are obliged to provide them with the basic health and safety supplies.

However, from Israel’s viewpoint, it’s not an “occupying power,” given that the State of Palestine is a partially-recognized state and is classified as a “non-member observer state” by the United Nations. Tel Aviv does not agree with the concept that it has “occupied” the Gaza Strip since 1967, arguing that it had completely withdrawn from the region in 2005 and that the region has been ruled by Palestinian factions since then.

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“..yesterday President Putin made a statement that I think is the most severe statement that we’ve heard from a Russian president ever, when he said that the Palestinians are fighting and the reason the Palestinians are being killed is because [of] the governments that are behind Israel, and that Russia is fighting those people in Ukraine right now.”

Israel Already Lost Gaza Battle Even Before Eviction Plan Leaked – Journo (Sp.)

On Tuesday, Israeli media reported that the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, which is equivalent to the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), had drawn up a plan to completely relocate all 2.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip to Egypt. The proposal, created on October 13, suggests pushing all Gaza residents across the border into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where tent cities will be established, followed by the construction of permanent cities. It would create a “humanitarian corridor” of an undefined nature, as well as a security zone on the Israeli side of the border to prevent Palestinians from returning to Israeli territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the outrage over the report, saying it was nothing more than a “concept paper” or hypothetical exercise and that the ministry has no power to suggest policy in Jerusalem.

However, the Israeli Defense Ministry has already ordered more than 1 million Gazans to leave the northern half of the Gaza Strip as it prepares for an all-out attack on Gaza City, where it expects to meet Hamas in a decisive battle that will destroy the organization. Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since it won elections in 2006, and its militants helped carry out a cross-border raid on October 7 that killed more than 1,300 Israelis. In response to the news, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova urged that “we are talking about millions of civilians.” “Everyone is exhausted: Israelis, Palestinians, neighbors in the region, sympathizers of both around the world,” she said. “And why? But because one country judged itself as having the right to decide the destinies of millions according to its own plans. And when such an approach led absolutely everyone to a dead end, it turned out that the United States did not bear any responsibility for what it had done. It’s Halloween for them.”

“It’s clear that it is an intentional leak,” Laith Marouf, award-winning broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, told Radio Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday. “It is trying to normalize, within the Western audience, this concept of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their land. So we have to sometimes be wary when these leaks come out and understand that they were intentionally released.” “Until now, without removing the Palestinians of Gaza, out of Gaza, the Israelis have already killed upwards of 12,000 – because there’s 2,000 people under the rubble – and have displaced a million-and-a-half people inside Gaza. So the number of displaced Palestinians in this war has surpassed the number of displaced Palestinians in 1948 – because in 1948, the Israelis expelled, removed 800,000 Palestinians. Now, we’re past that number and we’re approaching very fast the number of Palestinians that the Israelis massacred in 1948: 15,000 dead.”

“So you have to understand that this is already a second ‘Nakba’, a second catastrophe, for the Palestinians that could be bigger than the first one. And people are seeing this happening live on television this time, so there is no way anybody can deny that this has happened. And there is nobody in the West – in terms of authorities, regimes, governments, institutions – that wants to even stop this, they are all actually finding reasons to allow more of this to happen. Therefore, the only thing that the Palestinian people can do is the same thing that they’ve always had to do: stand up for their rights and fight back the oppressor, the genocider, the occupier or the colonizer and who is behind them.” “You see, yesterday President Putin made a statement that I think is the most severe statement that we’ve heard from a Russian president ever, when he said that the Palestinians are fighting and the reason the Palestinians are being killed is because [of] the governments that are behind Israel, and that Russia is fighting those people in Ukraine right now. So this is aligning, right now, Russia’s future and its battle [in Ukraine] with the battle of the Palestinian people against the Zionists and the imperialists behind them,” Marouf said.

“And, you know, we are entering right now a stage that is different. And of course, everybody’s waiting for Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, on Friday, to show us what’s the next chapter in this battle. But nothing’s going to stop, no war is going to stop, the Americans are not going to stop the Zionists from committing this genocide and therefore, be prepared for what’s next.” Recently in an interview with US-based media, Vijay Prashad, the executive director of the Tricontinental Institute think tank, said that soon, the outrage across the Middle East over Israel’s war in Gaza would reach such great heights that their own governments “will not be able to contain their population.”

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Russia calls for a ceasefire, the US does not.

Russia Calls To Immediately Stop Bloodshed In Middle East — UN Envoy (TASS)

The bloodshed in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must be stopped immediately to prevent the conflict from spreading to the entire Middle East, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said during the General Assembly special session on Palestine. “First of all, it is necessary to stop the bloodshed and to prevent the crisis from engulfing the entire region. Otherwise, the conflict will never be stopped,” he said. Nebenzya also called to “let the mediators work on a diplomatic solution, including the prompt liberation of hostages.”

“One will have to walk down this path sooner or later; the only question is how many innocent people will die in the meantime,” he noted. The situation in the Middle East has escalated abruptly after an armed infiltration of HAMAS militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The HAMAS movement considers this attack a response to the actions of Israeli authorities towards the Al Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel announced a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip and started carrying out strikes on the enclave and certain areas in Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also taking place in the West Bank.

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“.. instead proposing a temporary humanitarian pause..”

So Hamas will free the hostages and Israel can move in unhindered.

Biden Ignores Rabbi’s Call For Gaza Ceasefire (RT)

US President Joe Biden has refused to call for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas conflict, instead proposing a temporary humanitarian pause. Biden was speaking to an audience of some 200 people when a woman, who later identified herself as rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, shouted, “If you care about Jewish people, as a rabbi, I need you to call for a cease-fire right now.” The incident was captured on video and shared by the Jewish Voice for Peace account on X (formerly Twitter), claiming that Rosenberg was speaking on behalf of thousands of Jewish Americans who “refuse to allow a genocide to be carried out in [their] name” The president responded by stating that he believes “we need a pause” and explained that it means to “give time to get the prisoners out,” apparently referring to the foreign nationals currently stuck in Gaza.

Rabbi Rosenberg was then escorted off the premises, after which the president said he understood her emotions and acknowledged that “this is incredibly complicated” for Israelis and the Muslim world. “I supported a two-state solution; I have from the very beginning,” he said. He added, however, that “the fact of the matter is that Hamas is a terrorist organization. A flat-out terrorist organization.” In an earlier speech in Minnesota on Wednesday, Biden reiterated Washington’s support for Israel’s right to “defend itself” following the October 7 Hamas attack, which took the lives of over 1,400 Israelis. Previously, the president repeatedly insisted that the US would stand by Israel “no matter what.” At the same time, the US State Department has continuously rejected calls for a ceasefire, arguing that it would only benefit Hamas.

Washington’s unconditional support for the Jewish State has, in turn, sparked growing criticism and accusations of disregarding the atrocities being committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against the civilian population of Gaza. According to the latest estimates by local health officials, as many as 9,000 people have so far been killed in IDF strikes on Gaza over the past three weeks. Meanwhile, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, has dismissed Washington’s argument about Israel’s right to self-defense, explaining that “as an occupying power, it does not have such a right” as per the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice in 2004. He stressed, however, that Russia nevertheless recognizes Israel’s right to ensure its security.

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Wait till OPEC closes the taps.

Israel-Hamas Conflict May Cost Global Economy $2 Trillion – Ernst & Young (RT)

The global economy could be doomed to take a major hit if the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalates, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing a top economist at Ernst & Young, one of the world’s leading consulting and accounting services firms. Gregory Daco, chief economist at EY-Parthenon, Ernst & Young’s global strategy consulting arm, told the NYT that in the “worst-case scenario,” the expansion of military action in the Middle East would entail “severe”consequences for the world economy, such as a moderate recession, a plunge in stock prices and a loss of $2 trillion.

Oil prices are likely to rise to $150 per barrel from the current $85, Daco added. Last month the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned that global GDP could drop 5% in the longer term if the world splits into two trading blocs as a result of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas. The WTO also slashed its 2023 forecast for global trade growth to 0.8% from the previously estimated 1.7%, citing a deepening manufacturing slowdown.

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“..including their wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents.”

Netanyahu Ordered To Track, Kill All Hamas Leaders 2 Weeks Ago – Hersh (TASS)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israeli intelligence agencies to track and assassinate all political and military Hamas leaders two weeks ago, US journalist Seymour Hersh said in his blog at the Substack website citing unnamed sources. Citing one “well-informed Israeli,” Hersh claims that Netanyahu tasked both the overseas intelligence agency and the internal security agency with this mission. According to the source, Israel persecutes families of Hamas political and military leaders, including their wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents.

The situation in the Middle East has escalated abruptly after an armed infiltration of HAMAS militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The HAMAS movement considers this attack a response to the actions of Israeli authorities towards the Al Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel announced a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip and started carrying out strikes on the enclave and certain areas in Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also taking place in the West Bank.

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Want to use Red Cross to find the hostages?

Red Cross ‘Has No Right To Exist’ If It Can’t Reach Hostages – Israel (RT)

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has criticized what he called the “unbalanced focus” of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), amid the IDF’s offensive in Gaza. He also blasted the Geneva-based aid group for failing to rescue Israeli hostages being held by Hamas. “The Red Cross has no right to exist if it does not succeed in visiting the hostages being held captive by the Hamas,” Cohen said in a telephone conversation on Wednesday with ICRC director Miriana Spolijaric, according to a summary released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Israel has said that about 240 of its citizens were seized by Hamas in its October 7 cross-border raid, most of whom remain unaccounted for in the besieged Palestinian enclave, which has been targeted with massive retaliatory strikes by the IDF for several weeks.

“The Red Cross must act decisively and with a clear voice and utilize all leverage it has to push for a visit to the hostages as soon as possible,” Cohen said, according to the transcript, noting that “children, women and Holocaust survivors” are among the captives. Cohen accused the aid organization of showing an “unbalanced focus” on Israel throughout the conflict. “The Red Cross’ reputation is at stake if it cannot secure a visit to those being held captive by Hamas,” he said. The Red Cross defended its work on Thursday, with spokesperson Alyona Synenko telling NPR that “when the bombs continue to fall, it is also impossible for our teams to do their jobs.” “For us it is a priority to get access and to visit all the hostages. The amount of suffering they endure is also unimaginable. We have been constantly calling on the Hamas authorities to give us access so that we can provide medicine, that we can give news to the families of the hostages.”

“We cannot do that unless we are given the needed humanitarian space and the access to be able to do our job,” Synenko said. “We cannot force our way through bombs. We just need all the parties to show goodwill and also to respect their obligation under the international humanitarian law.” The Red Cross, which has been involved in supplying humanitarian aid to Gaza, has also cautioned Israel over civilian casualties – however, Cohen claimed that Israel “is bound by international law and acts in accordance with it.” Palestinian officials say that more than 9,000 people have so far been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza, and that about 70% of those killed are children, women and the elderly.

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“..It’s doubtful these nations will now be keen to embark on yet another counterterrorism mission alongside the same forces that they just expelled..”

Global Anti-Hamas Coalition Pushed By Macron Is A Bad Idea (Marsden)

Last week, standing beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested recycling the global coalition of 86 nations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) to focus on Hamas. “Hamas is a terrorist group, whose objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. This is also the case of ISIS, of Al-Qaeda, of all those associated with them, either by actions or by intentions,” Macron said, betraying a short and selective memory. The stated goal of IS wasn’t to eradicate Israel – it was to establish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, then broaden it into Arab countries. IS was first and foremost a threat to the stability of Syria – the same country whose government the US and its Western allies actively hindered in its fight against terrorism by making a failed attempt at overthrowing President Bashar Assad through Pentagon and CIA-backed training and equipping of “Syrian rebel” jihadists.

As for Al-Qaeda, Israel was even reportedly at one point helping treat wounded militants from the group who were fighting their common enemy, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, in Syria – in turn effectively hindering the fight against IS, as Syria and Hezbollah worked to destroy it. The Global Coalition against Daesh (another name for IS), founded in 2014, explicitly excluded Russia, whose invitation by Damascus to help it eradicate the terrorist threat can be largely credited for Syria’s stabilization, and the fact that it’s rare to even hear any talk of IS anymore. Russia’s involvement in neutralizing the terrorist group, coupled with former US President Donald Trump’s refusal to continue funding Washington’s incursion into Syria, beyond hunkering down in the oil-rich Kurdish part, was the ultimate key to IS’ defeat. So with apparently little left for it to do now, Macron recommends that the coalition that mostly sat and watched – while Russia, Iran, and Syria did the heavy lifting – take on Hamas.

Who does he think is going to do the work this time? Russia, which is still excluded from the coalition? Syria, which has recently taken incoming missile fire from Israel? Iran’s Hezbollah allies, who lost 1,000 men fighting IS in Syria – and whom Netanyahu has placed in the same basket as Hamas as an enemy of Israel? Good luck with that. So with the most effective anti-IS fighters excluded from fighting Hamas, who’s left in Macron’s proposed coalition? There’s the Global South, including some African countries that just kicked out French troops for their own failed counterterrorism missions which had led to multiple coups and the flourishing of jihadism. It’s doubtful these nations will now be keen to embark on yet another counterterrorism mission alongside the same forces that they just expelled.

Then there are all those members of the international community who are quietly thinking what United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres dared to say aloud last week – that Hamas’ brutal attack on October 7, which left close to a thousand civilians and hundreds of military and security personnel dead, “did not happen in a vacuum.” He was, of course, hinting at Israel’s longstanding, UN-recognized oppression of civilians in Gaza. His statement begs yet another question: Is Hamas really a global threat? Or is it just Israel’s problem?

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“Seems like a call for war on Iran. I voted No.”

House Passes Resolution That Suggests Using Force Against Iran (Antiwar)

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution that suggested the US would use force against Iran in the future in the name of preventing the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. The resolution says a nuclear-armed Iran is “unacceptable” and declares that it’s the policy of the US to “use all means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” A US intelligence report recently affirmed that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, but reality doesn’t stop Iran hawks in the US and Israel from constantly hyping up the threat of a non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons program. The same officials do not officially recognize that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal.

The resolution passed in a vote of 354-53, with 50 Democrats and three Republicans voting against the measure. Explaining his opposition, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) because it seemed like a call for war. “Yesterday Congress passed a resolution (354 to 53) that claims Iran possesses all it needs for a nuclear weapon,” Massie wrote on X. “The same resolution says the US should ‘use all means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.’ Seems like a call for war on Iran. I voted No.” The resolution pointed to Iran’s uranium enrichment at 60% and its stockpiles of enriched uranium as evidence it could make a bomb. But in order to make a nuclear weapon, uranium needs to be enriched at 90%, and there’s no sign Tehran is considering taking that step.

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If The Army Says Fight The War, Russians Agree – If The Kremlin Says Stop, Russians Agree On Conditions The Army Decides.

Russians Have Never Had More Confidence In The Army Since World War II (Helmer)

Russians have never had a higher level of confidence in the Army since the end of World War II, according to a national poll just published by the independent Levada Centre of Moscow. This also means a record level of confidence in the General Staff to outwit the principal enemy of the country, the United States, and defeat it and its allies on the Ukrainian battlefield. Most Russians now believe this war will take the Russian Army at least another six months, and more likely a year to finish. This new poll signals that most Russians believe it prudent not to fight the US with the same intensity in two long wars at the same time – in the Ukraine and in the Middle East — because the Army has decided so. This is despite the overwhelming Russian support for the Palestinians in their fight for survival against Israel. No poll is allowed to measure and publish this support, and the emotional reaction the majority of Russians feels towards the operations of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the US military to destroy the population of Gaza.

“We should not, we have no right and we cannot allow ourselves to be carried away by emotions,” President Vladimir Putin announced on October 30. “We must clearly understand who in reality is behind the tragedy of peoples in the Middle East and in other regions around the world, who has been organising this lethal chaos and who benefits from it. In my opinion, it has already become clear to everyone, as the masterminds brazenly act in the open. These are the current ruling elites in the United States and its satellites who are the main beneficiaries of the global instability that they use to extract their bloody rent. Their strategy is also clear. The United States as a global superpower is becoming weaker and is losing its position, and everyone sees and understands this.”

This is the president running for re-election in five months’ time, speaking directly to Russian voters, reflecting what the polls on his desk tell him they already believe. The Levada pollsters report there is a small increase in war weariness across the country, with 56% now saying they favour the start of peace talks soon, compared with 48% measured a year ago, in September 2022. This, however, reflects public belief in the success of the Army in defeating the Ukrainian-NATO counteroffensive, and in advancing Russian control of the new Donbass territories and along the front line from Kharkov to Odessa. “In October 2023,” Levada reports, “62% of Russians across the country believe that the special military operation is progressing successfully (12% very successfully, 50% rather successfully), over the past 5 months their number has increased slightly. The opposite point of view is held by 21%.”

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“The crews of the armored groups are 100% former employees of the Wagner PMC..”

Ex-Wagner Fighters Create Detachment Within Chechen Special Forces (Az.)

Kamerton unit has been created from among former Wagner PMC fighters within the Chechen special forces named Akhmat, said the deputy commander of the detachment with the call sign “011”, Report informs via Russian media. The unit is said to include PMC commanders, an armored group, artillerymen and assault groups. The crews of the armored groups are 100% former employees of the Wagner PMC. Approximately 60% of the assault units consist of former Wagner employees, including commanders, said the deputy detachment commander.

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Ukraine keeps talking about a stalemate, and Russia keeps saying there’s no such thing.

Ukraine’s Top General Admits Russia Has The Advantage (RT)

Ukraine will not make any progress in its fight against Russia unless some new technology emerges to give it a decisive advantage, the country’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzny, told The Economist this week. He conceded, without the appearance of a ‘wunderwaffe,’ that Moscow is in the better position, given its larger population and greater resources. “Just like in the First World War, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he said of the ongoing conflict, as quoted by the British magazine on Wednesday. Despite the hopes of Kiev supporters and Ukrainian officials, “there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough,” he predicted. The conflict may “drag on for years” and “wear down” the country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov disagreed with Zaluzhny on Thursday, stating that Russia was not in a stalemate and would keep pursuing its “special military operation” against Ukraine. Kiev should have long acknowledged that expecting a Russian defeat was “absurd,” he added. The situational awareness that both sides have thanks to the use of drones makes surprise concentration of forces impossible, Zaluzhny believes. NATO textbooks and predictive models, which were used to plan the summer counteroffensive, have been proven wrong, the general claimed. “Four months should have been enough time for us to have reached Crimea, to have fought in Crimea, to return from Crimea, and to have gone back in and out again,” he said, referring to optimistic forecasts.

The commander has found that an old Soviet military textbook on how to deal with entrenched enemy forces had offered a better explanation of why both sides are now “in stupor,” he said. Zaluzhny’s office shared with The Economist a nine-page essay, in which he makes suggestions on how Ukraine could get into a better position against Russia and possibly avoid attrition warfare. His proposed technological solutions include using drones with trap nets to catch Russian UAVs, ground GPS signal stations to counter Russian jamming, and robotic vehicles armed with plasma torches for demining. The general, who is an outspoken advocate of drone warfare, was “enthused” by recent conversations with Eric Schmidt on the issue, the report said. The former CEO of Google has been advising the US government on how advanced digital technology could improve military capabilities.

This week, Time exposed a disconnect between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s push to keep fighting and the realities on the ground. Some frontline commanders have been defying orders to advance and “just want to sit in the trenches and hold the line,” a presidential aide told the magazine. A report in The Times last Sunday suggested that Zaluzhny may share this sentiment. A rumor circulating among Ukrainian security sources claimed the general had called for the counteroffensive to be stopped, but Zelensky refused.

“[Zelensky] knows that Western patience is limited for his maximalist demands that Ukraine must recover all territory” that it has lost since 2014, the British newspaper claimed. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Kiev’s troops have suffered over 90,000 casualties since June 4, the day the counteroffensive started. The Ukrainian Army has also lost some 600 tanks and nearly 1,900 armored vehicles over the same period, he said during a security conference in China on Monday. Moscow sees the hostilities as part of a US proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainian troops are being used as “cannon fodder.” It blames the West for derailing a negotiated resolution in the early months of the conflict, and instead choosing to push Kiev to fight “to the last Ukrainian.”

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“New participants are first involved in discussions on such seemingly neutral issues as food, energy, nuclear and environmental security, and then they [the supporters of Ukraine] pass it off as support for the whole ‘formula,’ the central element of which is the defeat and punishment of Russia..”

Zelensky Lies About Mass Support For His “Peace Formula” – Russian FM (TASS)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s statements that his so-called peace formula is supported by more than 140 countries are another lie, a senior Russian diplomat told TASS. “Speaking at the UN General Assembly in September, Zelensky said that his ‘peace formula’ is supposedly already supported by more than 140 countries. Of course, this is another lie,” Alexey Polishchuk, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second CIS Department, pointed out. He added that Ukraine and the US are attempting to use “deception and blackmail” to get the countries of the Global South to support the “formula.”

According to Polishchuk, Kiev and Washington are “trying to lure new countries into their anti-Russian club, and at the same time to kill really constructive proposals, peace and humanitarian initiatives of other states.” Kiev is actively trying to promote a settlement plan proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which does not take into account Moscow’s position. Relevant international consultations, to which Russia was not invited, were held on June 24 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and on August 5-6 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The most recent meeting at the level of national security advisors took place on October 28-29 in Malta. “There is no practical point in such meetings,” the diplomat stressed.

“The so-called Copenhagen format is a mechanism invented by Kiev and the West to impose Ukrainian ultimatums. It is incapable of leading to peace,” he pointed out. Polishchuk recalled that the Malta meeting was the third after Copenhagen and Jeddah. “Their added value is close to zero,” he stressed. At the same time, the senior diplomat pointed to the fact that at such meetings “unscrupulous techniques are used.” “New participants are first involved in discussions on such seemingly neutral issues as food, energy, nuclear and environmental security, and then they [the supporters of Ukraine] pass it off as support for the whole ‘formula,’ the central element of which is the defeat and punishment of Russia,” he concluded.

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Lawyers can do one case at a time.

Judge Hints at Possible Delay in Trump’s Classified Documents Case (Sp.)

The Florida federal judge presiding over former US President Donald Trump’s classified documents case hinted that she is open to a delay in the case, a move that prosecutors have been arguing against. Judge Aileen Cannon set the trial’s schedule in July, with a start date set for May 20. But at a hearing on Thursday, she floated the possibility of delaying portions of the pre-trial process, which could push back the actual trial date. It’s believed it could be likely postponed until after the 2024 election, a result Trump’s lawyers have been attempting to achieve. “I’m just having a hard time seeing how realistically this work can be accomplished in this compressed period of time, given the realities that we’re facing,” Cannon said during the hearing. Trump’s lawyers argued they needed more time to prepare for the trial due to Trump’s several other pending legal cases, two others of which are focused on alleged attempts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

Officials have raised concerns that cases may potentially overlap and make it much more difficult for the Trump camp to properly handle the list of cases. Cannon did not mention moving the trial date back, but any delay in the pre-trial process could cascade to the trial date, pushing that back as well. “It’s very difficult to be trying to work with a client in one trial and simultaneously try to prepare that client for another trial,” Trump lawyer Chris Kise said. “This has been a struggle and a challenge.” Prosecutors working for special counsel Jack Smith, who is heading both the Jan. 6 and classified documents case, have argued against Cannon delaying the Florida case because the Washington, DC, case focusing on Trump’s role in attempting to overturn the 2020 results may likewise be delayed.

“The court really cannot let and should not let the DC trial drive the schedule here,” veteran Justice Department national security prosecutor Jay Bratt argued in front of Cannon. “We don’t know what is going to happen in this case. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the DC case. That trial could disappear.” But Cannon noted she cannot predict what a different judge is going to do and does not want to put her trial on a track that could potentially interfere with another case. The Florida judge added that she will set a new timeline for the case “as soon as possible.”

Trump is accused of mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021, as well as trying to conceal the number of those documents from prosecutors. He has decried the trial and all of the legal cases filed against him as being part of political witch hunts. In addition to the two federal cases, Trump is also facing an election-interference case at the state level in Georgia and a state-level case in New York centering around hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He and his company are also facing numerous civil suits.

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Biden’s second-biggest donor.

Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty On All Counts (ZH)

After 15 days of testimony and about four and a half hours of deliberations, jurors found FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty on all seven counts related to fraud and money laundering, in a lower Manhattan courtroom. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 28, when he faces more than 100 years in prison if he receives the maximum on all counts. Bankman-Fried has indicated that he will appeal the verdict. The case was handed to the jury at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Thursday after US District Judge Lewis Kaplan read the jury roughly 60 pages of instructions. Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, founded FTX in 2019, two years after forming sister hedge fund Alameda Research. He was charged with seven counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, and securities fraud in connection with FTX’s spectacular implosion last year.

The trial, which progressed far more quickly than the anticipated run through Thanksgiving, has presented a stark transformation of the FTX founder from a “crypto genius” to an alleged criminal mastermind, as prosecutors and defense attorneys spar over the truth behind FTX’s collapse. The 31-year-old MIT graduate and son of two Stanford legal scholars had pleaded not guilty to all charges. “Every movie needs a villain,” proclaimed Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney, in a narrative-bending final plea that painted the prosecution’s portrayal of his client as grossly mischaracterized. Cohen argued fervently against the government’s claims, insisting that the FTX saga, while marred by a lack of risk management, does not equate to criminal conduct.

The courtroom, under the guidance of Judge Kaplan, saw a relentless pace, with days stretching past the usual hours in a concerted effort to wrap up proceedings. Jurors, now faced with the weighty task of determining Bankman-Fried’s fate, were reminded that the urgency from the bench wasn’t an attempt to rush judgment but rather an efficient approach to justice. The crux of the trial hinged on intent — did Bankman-Fried knowingly orchestrate a grand scheme to defraud? According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos, the answer lies in a “pyramid of deceit,” with $10 billion in customer funds vanishing into a black hole of personal indulgences and opaque financial maneuvers. “The defendant schemed and lied to get money, which he spent,” Roos told the court, dismantling the image of an earnest entrepreneur caught in a misstep.

Cohen’s defense strategy leaned heavily on the sworn testimony of Bankman-Fried himself, who took to the stand in what former prosecutor Renato Mariotti described as a deliberate attempt to downplay his involvement. “Meant to reduce his role,” Mariotti said, noting the pointed references to a youthful lack of experience and the burdens of leadership. The prosecution, meanwhile, painted a picture of a deliberate and cunning exploitation of trust, they left the jury with a resonating thought — Bankman-Fried “had the arrogance to think he could get away with it.” The litany of expenses paid for with customer money, from a $30 million Bahamian penthouse to a lavish $16 million for his parents’ home, stood as testament to a lifestyle funded by the alleged pyramid scheme.

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Ant hill

 

 

Now and Then

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697822863548612813

 

 

 

 

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
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697067369770758613

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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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Skull moth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697615347153510622

 

 

Jump

 

 

Alpaca

 

 

Pelican

 

 

Sea slug
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697636709955936532

 

 

Dogfather

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 262023
 
 August 26, 2023  Posted by at 8:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  55 Responses »


Gustave Dore Dante and The Ninth Circle of Hell (Treachery) 1857

 

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)
Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)
Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)
‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)
Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)
Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)
BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)
Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)
Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)
The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)
Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)
Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

Huntersgate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, we can’t have that.

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

European officials are concerned that US President Joe Biden could “nudge” Ukraine toward peace talks next year, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources. Bloomberg is the second major US outlet this week to warn that American military aid to Kiev may soon dry up. According to the US news site, European leaders worry that Ukraine’s lack of “significant battlefield progress,” coupled with pressure from the anti-interventionist wing of the Republican Party, could lead to Biden pressing Kiev to the negotiating table. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, but the Biden administration is out of money for more aid packages. The president has asked Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Kiev, but the bill will likely face stiff opposition from a growing number of Republicans opposed to Biden’s blank-check policy.

Furthermore, media reports earlier this summer suggested that continued military aid to Ukraine would be predicated on Kiev using its NATO weapons and training to make significant territorial gains against Russian forces. However, nearly three months into Kiev’s counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military has failed to breach Russia’s defensive lines, and has lost upwards of 43,000 men for its efforts, according to the most recent figures from the Russian Defense Ministry. With Ukraine’s odds of success dwindling, Biden will also enter 2024 having to campaign for reelection, likely against former President Donald Trump. The former president has repeatedly promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

American officials believe that the US will not give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. According to the paper’s sources, Washington would not be able to give Kiev the same amount of arms and ammo again, and American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to use what they already have more effectively. Publicly, the Biden administration insists that the weapons will keep flowing to Ukraine. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the aid will continue, while National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that key Republicans still back the administration’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes.”

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“What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)

The US is unlikely to give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing officials in Washington. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and his administration insist that they will continue to back Kiev to the hilt. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, while leaked Pentagon documents indicate that NATO countries trained and equipped nine Ukrainian brigades to take part in the ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces. With the Ukrainian military failing to penetrate Russia’s defensive lines after nearly three months of fighting, American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to stick to their NATO training and use what they’ve been given more effectively, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

“The American advice is based on the calculation that the surge of equipment the US has funneled to Ukraine…is enough for this offensive and is unlikely to be repeated at anywhere near the same level in 2024,” the newspaper explained. Washington’s continued bankrolling of the Ukrainian military is a matter of political contention in the US. While almost all Democratic members of Congress back Biden’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes,” a group of more than two dozen Republicans are vehemently opposed. Moreover, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected president next November, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

The Biden administration has spent all of its money set aside for Ukraine, and the president is now pushing Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Ukraine. With Republican anti-interventionists up in arms, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has suggested that he won’t give the bill his unconditional support. “You don’t get to just throw money [away],” he said earlier this summer. “What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

Biden’s top officials have downplayed the growing divisions in Washington. “We believe that the support will be there and will be sustained,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. Sullivan added that despite the “dissonant voices” on the right, Republicans in “key leadership positions” will ensure that weapons keep flowing to Kiev. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the supply of military aid will not dry up.

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It all depends how Ukraine is re-divided.

Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)

The costs of the geopolitical, military, and economic quagmire which the Biden administration unleashed in Ukraine will continue to steadily rise even if peace were to break out tomorrow, and American taxpayers are expected to largely foot the bill. That’s the conclusion of an independent economic analysis put out this week by a senior fellow from the Center for Security Policy and the Yorktown Institute, a pair of Washington, DC and Maryland-based think tanks. The analysis takes into account the World Bank’s March 2023 estimate that Ukraine will require some $411 billion in reconstruction support over the coming decade, plus whatever additional expenses may have arisen between then and now, with the analysis giving an overall ballpark figure of $600 billion+ in total expenses.

The analysis compared these ballooning costs to the $60 billion the US spent on Iraqi reconstruction after the 2003 invasion, plus the $90 billion spent in Afghanistan for reconstruction purposes during the 20-year US-led war and occupation of that country, which culminated in the collapse of the Afghan government and its NATO-trained military almost immediately after Washington withdrew its support in 2021. “There is no doubt that most of the US assistance to Afghanistan was probably stolen or went over to the Taliban…In the case of Iraq, most of the aid was wasted thanks to bad management, corruption and poor planning,” the report noted. “The US and its allies will need to cough up $60 billion annually to support Ukraine, and expect that a lot of it will be stolen. It will have to keep the funding up for 10 years,” the analysis added.

Citing waning support for continuing the proxy war against Russia from key allies including Germany and Britain, the report expects the US to have to cough up most of the cash. Accordingly, the analysis doesn’t rule out that the Biden administration may be deliberately seeking to prolong the military crisis as long as possible to put off committing reconstruction aid, particularly as a growing majority of Americans, including several major presidential candidates, no longer want to continue endlessly funding the conflict, or the Volodymyr Zelensky government. Ultimately, the analysis expects Ukraine to become “the most costly” reconstruction operation ever conducted by the US, pointing out that by comparison, the US Marshall Plan reconstruction campaign in Europe after World War II cost “just” $13.3 billion (or $173 billion in today’s dollars, accounting for inflation).

Questions have swirled for months surrounding Ukraine’s post-conflict economic future, with the nation’s gross external debt continuing to mount, and some observers fearing the country will be “crippled” by the debt it owes to the International Monetary Fund and other institutions over the long term. The tremendous interest US hedge fund giants like BlackRock have shown in Ukraine’s fertile black earth soil, as well as the country’s untapped rare earth mineral deposits, has also sparked concerns that Kiev might come out of the present crisis as a full-on economic neo-colony of the United States and its allies.

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Why would Russia allow that?

Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)

Continuing to send weapons to Kiev does not serve US interests and is only pushing Russia and China closer together, according to candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy was the only candidate on Wednesday’s debate stage in Milwaukee unequivocally against increasing US funding for Ukraine, already at over $100 billion. Asked about it by the government-funded Voice of America after the debate, Ramaswamy said that sending more money to Kiev “does not advance American interests” and the president’s job is to look out for Americans. “You mark my words, the way this war ends right now, without the US actually stepping in and saying we’re not going to fund any more of it, is going to be some post-Zelensky warlord takes over with a couple hundred billion dollars of American military equipment, just like what happened after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. And you see how far that got,” the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur added.

Ramaswamy also said his plan to end the conflict “will actually be probably better for Ukraine. At least it comes out with its sovereignty intact, which is not the plan they’re on right now.” If a recent CNN poll is to be believed, 71% of Republicans are against sending more money to the government in Kiev, while 59% say the US has done enough for Ukraine already. “I think that this is disastrous, that we are protecting against an invasion across somebody else’s border, when we should use those same military resources to prevent… the invasion of our own southern border here,” Ramaswamy said during the debate. He also argued that the US support for Kiev is “driving Russia further into China’s hands” and accused some of his rivals of putting Ukraine ahead of the US. “I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on the stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kiev – to their pope, [President Vladimir] Zelensky – without doing the same thing for people in Maui or the South Side of Chicago,” Ramaswamy said.

This provoked angry replies from former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former vice president Mike Pence – both of whom have recently visited Ukraine – as well as Nikki Haley, who called Ukraine “the front line of defense” for the US and accused Ramaswamy of having no foreign policy experience. Ramaswamy is currently ranked third in the GOP primary polls, behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 13.8% but ahead of Pence (4.1%), Haley (3.1%) and Christie (2.9%). Former president Donald Trump has said he would end the conflict “in 24 hours” and condemned the Biden administration’s bankrolling of the Ukrainian government. Trump is the absolute front-runner for the party nomination, with 56% support. He did not attend Wednesday’s debate, choosing to give an interview to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.

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The plane had just come from Africa.

‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday dismissed what he called unfounded speculation by some media in the West that Moscow may have been behind the crash of Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin’s plane. “There is a lot of speculation about that plane crash and the tragic deaths of the passengers, among whom was Evgeny Prigozhin,” Peskov told reporters at the daily press briefing. “In the West, all that speculation is being presented from a certain angle. It’s all a total lie.” Peskov asked the media to rely on facts, “which as of this moment are few, as they have to be uncovered by the ongoing investigation.”

He also reminded reporters that President Putin had promised a thorough investigation, including the DNA testing of the remains. “There are no official results as of yet. The moment they are ready to be made public, they will be,” Peskov said. The Embraer 135BJ Legacy 600 private jet was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Wednesday when it crashed in Tver Region. There were ten people on board, seven passengers and three crew members. None survived. Authorities are still working to identify the bodies. Prigozhin’s name was on the passenger manifest, along with Dmitry ‘Wagner’ Utkin, whose call sign gave the private military company its moniker.

Officially, however, the Wagner Group PMC does not exist. Putin commented on Prigozhin’s reported death on Thursday, calling him a man of “complicated destiny” whom he had known since the early 1990s. The Russian president touched on Prigozhin’s business deals in both Russia and Africa and thanked him and Wagner for what they had done in the Ukraine conflict. He did not touch on the failed Wagner mutiny at the end of June, after which much of the outfit was disbanded, with the remainder moving to Belarus, along with Prigozhin.

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Former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar is convinced it wasn’t Putin.

Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)

Prigozhin’s murder was staged on a special day that in a historical perspective, must be counted as the finest hour of Russian diplomacy ever since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The reality of “a new starting point for BRICS” — as Chinese President Xi Jinping stated — is yet to sink in fully, but what is beyond doubt is that Russia is walking away as the winner. Make no mistake that the BRICS unity held firm and rubbished all western prognosis; BRICS expansion means that the issue of a single settlement currency is on the table, and the international financial system is not going to be the same again; de-dollarisation is knocking at the gates; a new global trading system is taking shape which renders obsolete the exploitative 4-century old western regime geared to transfer wealth to the rich countries; BRICS has graduated, finally, from an informal club to an institution that will eclipse the G7.

[..] The plain truth is, there could be any number of people who wanted to physically eliminate Prigozhin. Within Russia itself, Prigozhin had recruited hardened criminals undergoing prison sentence to fight in Ukraine and thereby get their sentence commuted. He deployed them without adequate military training, and over 10,000 of them reportedly got killed. There is a deep sense of revulsion within Russia in the matter. Then there are the external enemies starting from France, which has been virtually evicted from the Sahel region, its playpen where it had a field day as the ex-colonial power until Prigozhin came and spoiled the party. France could barely hide its rancour toward Russia ever since then.

Meanwhile, the brewing crisis in Niger alerted the US that Prigozhin was on the prowl. The redoubtable acting secretary of state Victoria Nuland, who masterminded the 2014 coup in Ukraine, travelled to Niamey to plead with the coup leaders not to have any truck with Wagner. However, Prigozhin reportedly had sneaked into the neighbouring country, Mali, where Wagner is well established, with a view to establish contact with Niger’s new rulers and offer the services of Wagner. Suffice to say, Prigozhin was threatening to do to the Pentagon what he earlier did to the French Legion in Sahel.

It is entirely conceivable that the Biden administration decided that enough was enough and Wagner must be decapitated. Of course, Prigozhin’s departure along with his core group of senior commanders will incalculably weaken Wagner. Meanwhile, within Russia, the ruthless Uranian intelligence operates at different levels. The drone attacks on Moscow are being staged by saboteurs within Russia. And Ukraine too has a score to settle with Wagner, which is establishing itself in Belarus. Without doubt, there is a congruence of interests between the Ukrainian intelligence and its western mentors to destroy Wagner and eliminate it from the geopolitical chessboard altogether.

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Almost half the world’s oil. Now add Venezuela.

Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)

The BRICS group of nations is on course to change the power balance in the global energy market, InfoTech news outlet reported on Thursday, citing calculations based on 2022 OPEC data on oil exports and production. According to the calculations, once the group expands after adding six new nations to its ranks, it will control nearly half of the world’s oil production and reserves. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. However, at the summit in Johannesburg this week, the group announced that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will officially join in January 2024. According to the report, the group will greatly increase its weight in the oil market with the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran.

Along with current members Russia and Brazil, these nations combined control 39% of the world’s total oil exports, or 17.1 million barrels per day (bpd). The 11 nations of the expanded BRICS will account for around 47.6% of the world’s total oil production, data shows. In terms of oil reserves, BRICS will also control nearly half of the world’s total, 719.5 billion barrels out of 1.6 trillion. If Venezuela, which has also recently applied for membership, is accepted into its ranks, the group’s control will be even greater – around 65.4%. In comparison, the G7 group of leading economies (The US, UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, and Japan) controls only 3.9% of known crude reserves. sAnalysts note that the expansion of BRICS to the Gulf countries is likely to see the US lose its influence in the global oil market.

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE joining is… extremely significant. The United States used to rely on the Gulf monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia, to exert control over the oil price. With their accession to BRICS, it seems likely that America has lost any control it had over oil prices for the foreseeable future,” Irish economist Philip Pilkington said in an article for the British portal UnHerd. According to Pilkington, the outcome of this week’s BRICS Summit also symbolizes the end of Iran’s economic isolation. “Given that the country is the world’s eighth largest oil producer and possesses the third largest proven oil reserves, this is a substantial economic and geopolitical development,” he stated.

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“..we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40..”

BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)

It will take time for the Global South, or Global Majority, or “Global Globe” (copyright President Lukashenko), not to mention the stunned collective West, to fully grasp the enormity of the new strategic stakes. President Putin, for his part, described the negotiations on BRICS expansion as quite difficult. By now a relatively accurate picture is emerging of what really went down on that table in Johannesburg. India wanted 3 new members. China wanted as many as 10. A compromise was finally reached, with 6 members: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Argentina and Ethiopia. So from now on it’s BRICS 11. And that’s just the beginning. Starting with the rotating Russian presidency of BRICS on January 1, 2024, more partners will be progressively included, and most certainly a new round of full members will be announced at the BRICS 11 summit in Kazan in October next year.

So we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40. The G7, for all practical purposes, is sliding towards oblivion. Bur first things first. At that fateful table in Johannesburg, Russia supported Egypt. China went all out for Persian Gulf magic: Iran, UAE and the Saudis. Of course: Iran-China are already deep into a strategic partnership, and Riyadh is already accepting payment for energy in yuan. Brazil and China supported Argentina, Brazil’s troubled neighbor, running the risk of having its economy fully dollarized, and also a key commodity provider to Beijing. South Africa supported Ethiopia. India, for a series of very complex reasons, was not exactly comfortable with 3 Arab/Muslim members (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt). Russia assuaged New Delhi’s fears.

All of the above respects geographic principles and imprints the notion of BRICS representing the Global South. But it goes way beyond that, blending cunning strategy and no-nonsense realpolitik. India was mollified because Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the table in Johannesburg negotiating on behalf of President Putin, and highly respected by New Delhi, fully understood that a new, single BRICS currency is a long way away. What really matters, short and medium term, is expanding intra-BRICS trade in their national currencies. That was stressed by New Development Bank (NDB) president Dilma Rousseff in her report to the South African summit hosts – even as Brazilian President Lula once again emphasized the importance of setting up a work group to discuss a BRICS currency.

Lavrov understood how New Delhi is absolutely terrified of secondary sanctions by the US, in case its BRICS role gets too ambitious. Prime Minister Modi is essentially hedging between BRICS and the completely artificial imperial obsession embedded in the terminology “Indo-Pacific” – which masks renewed containment of China. The Straussian neo-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy are already furious with India buying loads of discounted Russian oil. New Delhi’s support for a new BRICS currency would be interpreted in Washington as all-out trade war – and sanctions dementia would follow. In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s MbS doesn’t care: he’s a top energy producer, not consumer like India, and one of his priorities is to fully court his top energy client, Beijing, and pave the way for the petroyuan.

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The Tucker interview stood at 255 million views last time I looked.

Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)

On Thursday evening, leading Republican presidential candidate and 45th President Donald Trump returned to X, formerly Twitter, in his first post since being suspended following the events of January 6, 2021. The post, which has gone viral, is a picture of Trump’s mugshot along with with the caption, “ELECTION INTERFERENCE NEVER SURRENDER! DONALDJTRUMP.COM”. As of 8:38 PM on Friday evening, Trump’s mugshot surpassed 210 million views after it had been posted for a full day. As of this report, Trump’s mugshot has 211.3 million views, over 331,100 reposts, 93,700 quote tweets, 1.4 million likes, and 39,300 bookmarks. “Approximately 10 million views per hour of this image,” X CEO Elon Musk remarked about the post. “Next-level,” Musk added along with a repost.

The mugshot’s historic nature has already been noted by many outlets. CNN called the photograph “iconic and infamous” and The Associated Press described it as “an enduring image that will appear in history books long after Donald Trump is gone.” The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., defined the image as “the most iconic photo in the history of US politics.” The image has already become a rallying cry for many with Trump supporters purchasing merchandise with the iconic photo ablazed across shirts, hats, mugs, and more. Trump’s return to X after nearly two years to post the mugshot shows his marketing genius and will make a lasting impression on millions of Americans.

Following the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, the billionaire unsuspended President Trump’s account, however, up until Thursday the president refused to use his account and instead used Truth Social. Trump’s return to Twitter, now X, has been long awaited and rumors circulated for months predicting that he would return to the platform in order to reach the tens of millions of Americans that use the social media network. In addition to being reinstated on Twitter earlier this year, Trump was also unsuspended on Facebook and Instagram. As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, Trump’s Instagram account was reinstated in early February after Meta unbanned his accounts after two years following the events of January 6th, 2021.

At the time of the initial ban, Meta released a press release giving the public an explanation of the company’s reasoning after it removed the 45th president on January 7, 2021. The company set a two-year hiatus until an oversight board could assess whether or not the former president should be allowed back on the platforms to reach his hundreds of millions of followers. Trump’s return to Facebook, Instagram, and now Twitter will prove to be a boon for his campaign and his popularity as the indictments ramp up. His choice to post his mugshot as his first post back to the platform reenforces the historic nature of the (mug)shot that will be heard around the world.

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“to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.”

Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump’s mugshot from when he was booked and arrested at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia has gone viral while his son has already turned it into a line of merchandise. Shortly after the Fulton County’s Sheriff’s Office released the mugshot on Thursday, marking the first time such a picture has been taken of a former or sitting US president, Donald Trump Jr. posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) announcing new t-shirts, mugs, and posters featuring the former US president’s mugshot along with bold red and white text reading ‘Free Trump’. A t-shirt costs $29.99, a mug is being sold for $15.99, and a mugshot poster is priced at $19.99. The former president’s son pointed out, however, that all the proceeds from the merchandise sales would go to the Legal Defense Fund “to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.” “Unlike many, I won’t try to profit from this but will do what I can to help,” Trump Jr. wrote.

Meanwhile, many Trump supporters on Etsy and other online marketplaces have also jumped on the bandwagon and started selling all kinds of merchandise featuring the mugshot – even thongs. Trump surrendered himself at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday after being charged with several felonies connected to his alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia. The former president was booked, arrested, and then quickly released thanks to a bail agreement secured earlier by his lawyers that saw Trump agree to post a $200,000 bond, as well as submit to several other conditions, including not using social media to target any of his 18 co-defendants or any witnesses in the case.

Some of Trump’s associates featured in the 41-count indictment have also turned themselves in at Fulton County Jail, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Trump has faced four criminal indictments this year as federal prosecutors have accused him of mishandling classified documents, attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, and allegedly paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the allegations as a political witch hunt aimed at preventing him from running for the presidency in 2024.

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“The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us.”

The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)

I think that the Georgia, New York, and federal January 6th indictments are unwarranted and threaten free speech. Moreover, it is valid for many to object that these prosecutions could have occurred years ago, but were launched just before the presidential election so that Trump will be running from court to court through the general election. It is also true that the Mar-a-Lago case is more serious and more substantive . . . and that threat is continuing to grow as a threat for Trump as witnesses change their testimony and Trump aides confirm key prosecution claims. Likewise, while I believe the case against Trump in the Georgia indictment is weak, there are defendants in that case that face stronger claims on specific election-related crimes.

Of course, in an age of rage, reason is the first to die. We cannot allow that to happen; we cannot allow rage addicts to drive our political or legal processes. We have the greatest legal system in the world. We will sort out these issues from the criminalization of political speech to the claim that Trump can be barred from the ballot even without a charge or conviction. Courts are likely to divide on these issues. However, we remain a nation of laws. That tradition takes a certain leap of faith. We do not support that system only when we prevail. That is the view of court packers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.,Y.). Notably, Ocasio-Cortez even said that she does not understand why we need a Supreme Court.

Even law professors and legal commentators have called our Constitution “trash” and called for the country to “reclaim America from constitutionalism.” That is the greatest danger of these times: that our deep divisions will cause us to lose faith in our defining values and in each other. The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us. I believe that it is paramount that appellate courts consider the merits of the free speech and other challenges to the Georgia, New York, and federal cases. That may be difficult if judges support these prosecutors in demanding trials before constitutional appeals are taken. Appellate judges could agree, in good faith, that challenges are premature before any convictions.

The important thing is for citizens not to be played as chumps. We will sort this out. The courts will address these important legal issues as citizens resolve the equally important political issues raised by these prosecutions. The merchandising and madness aside, we have more matters to resolve . . . together.

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“It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious..”

Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)

On Thursday, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who advised Georgia GOP officials on the process of assembling alternate electors in the case of election fraud under Georgia law, demanded a speedy trial. Under Georgia’s speedy trial law, Mr. Chesebro’s trial would have to take place this fall. (Such are the guiles of the law.) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper called it, “an aggressive filing.” Ms. Willis had hoped to try all 19 defendants together during the 2024 presidential primary season, to support her RICO charges. Meanwhile, three other defendants, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, filed to have their cases removed to the federal court, in so far as the actions they are accused of taking happened while they worked in the service of the US government. Mr. Meadows is accused of seeking by email to get the phone number of a Pennsylvania election official.

Ms. Willis’s case hinges on a number of novel propositions. First, that it is somehow against the law to object to the outcome of an election. And second, that the process for relief in such a case, as provided in Georgia’s election contest law and the US Electoral Count Act of 1887, does not apply to Mr. Trump and his lawyers. Anyone who intends to challenge the outcome must necessarily assemble a panel of alternate electors if state officials cannot certify the election properly and in good faith. Ms. Willis refers to these erroneously as “fake electors.” Mr. Trump and his co-defendants will necessarily have to present evidence that the Georgia presidential election of 2020 was not certified properly or in good faith.

Will the defendants be allowed to present evidence of serious irregularities in the 2020 Georgia election results? If not, would that not be grounds for dismissal. So far, Democrats in charge of the machinery of law all over the country have skated on mere assertions that the 2020 election was fair. In Georgia, none of the principals involved in the dispute have been subject to cross-examination, the best instrument for truth-finding in the American legal system. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Sec’y of State Brad Raffensperger may not be so hot for an airing of what actually went on Nov 3, 2020 and the days after, especially the validity of over 100,000 mail-in ballots in a state where “Joe Biden’s” margin of victory was a mere 11,799 votes.

Mr. Trump seems to be thriving under the tribulation of four court cases brought against him as he runs for election in 2024. Each new set of charges boosts his poll numbers. It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious. If he is initially convicted in any of them, he can still run for president and be elected, even if he’s jailed — as Eugene Debs did in 1920 getting 913,693 votes running on the Socialist Party from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was jailed under the 1917 Espionage Act for speaking out against America’s entry into the First World War. The Party of Chaos is running scared. Everybody knows that “Joe Biden” can’t possibly run for another term and yet the public debate is so grotesquely disabled that nobody will talk about it. Most particularly, they will not talk about who might take his place. All they are really demonstrating with this barrage of prosecutions against their chief adversary is how broken, craven, and degenerate the party is, and what a menace it is, as they like to say, to our democracy.

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“We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens..”

Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claims that the US Department of Justice has been “weaponized” against his company for “political purposes,” and that the firm is being sued despite trying to stay on the right side of the law. The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had filed a lawsuit against SpaceX for refusing to hire refugees and asylum seekers, and for allegedly “discouraging” these people from applying. Although SpaceX stated in its job advertisements that it could only hire US citizens and permanent residents due to the national security implications of rocket technology, the lawsuit claimed that refugees and asylum seekers have the same employment rights as US citizens under a 1965 immigration law. Musk claimed on Friday that prior to the lawsuit, government officials told SpaceX on multiple occasions not to hire foreigners.

“SpaceX was told repeatedly that hiring anyone who was not a permanent resident of the United States would violate international arms trafficking law, which would be a criminal offense,” he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens, despite Canada being part of NORAD!” he continued, referring to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a cross-border aerospace monitoring and missile warning command. “This is yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes,” Musk added. In a separate post, he declared that “the weaponization of government agencies needs to stop. This fundamentally undermines public faith in the justice system.”

The arms trafficking law in question is the US State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). All current SpaceX job listings inform potential candidates that unless a US citizen or permanent resident, they must obtain an ITAR waiver from the State Department to work at the company. As Musk explained on Friday, “the fundamental principle of ITAR law is that US companies who have advanced weapons technology, such as rockets with intercontinental range, must hire people who are permanent American residents, so that the technology does not fall into the hands of countries who wish us harm.”

While attempting to follow one law, the Justice Department’s lawsuit argues that Musk was breaking another. Although Musk is not a political rival of President Joe Biden, he has been at odds with the Biden administration since he purchased Twitter last October. Since taking over the since-renamed social media platform, Musk has published documents revealing a conspiracy by the White House, FBI, and other government agencies to control the flow of information on the site, prompting reports that the Biden administration had launched a national security investigation into the tycoon.

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Washkitten

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 242023
 
 August 24, 2023  Posted by at 8:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Francesco Queirolo Il Disinganno, Naples, Sansevero Chapel 1753-1754

 

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)
Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)
Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)
US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)
Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)
Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)
Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)
NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)
BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)
Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)
Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)
Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)
Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694136146987483643

 

 

Joe is lost

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

Renz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694131730171547815

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.”

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)

“It started with protests against you, then impeachment twice, and now indictments… Are you worried that they are going to try to kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you?” Trump calmly responds: I’ve seen the lengths that they go to… when they make up the Russia, Russia, Russia collusion and that’s exposed… these are sick people. I think they hate our country.” On the indictments sending Trump’s poll numbers higher: “I think the people of this country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are… but they get it…” “…the people see it’s a fraud.”

On Biden: “Crooked Joe Biden is so bad, he’s the worst president in the history of our country. I don’t think he’s going to make it to the gate, but you never know.” “I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.” “He’s both the most corrupt president we ever had and most incompetent.” On Biden’s links to China:”I actually believe he’s compromised… the Chinese have so much on him.” “He is in many ways a Manchurian candidate. “Do you think the rest of the world looks at Biden and thinks, somebody else must be running the government?” “well, somebody else has to be. I don’t think he’s capable of doing anything.”

Who is pulling the strings? We have a president that can’t put two sentences together, can’t speak, can’t walk, can’t talk. I don’t think he gets to the starting gate but these people do miracles… I mean he ran out of his basement and he got away with it because of COVID… and they cheated on the election…but they have people that are very smart, but they’re fascists and they’re radical left lunatics and they’re destroying our country.”

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“..fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail..”

Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)

Ukraine will be unable to defeat Russia on the battlefield as Moscow has more men and an “impressive” advantage in firepower, retired Italian general Marco Bertolini has said. “The Ukrainian victory is inconceivable. We must take note of this fact and sit at the negotiating table,” said Bertolini, who headed Italy’s Joint Operations Command and the Folgore paratroopers brigade in the 2000s. “This war should’ve been stopped much earlier, but in recent months the rhetoric of ‘we will win’ has been cultivated, fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail,” he told Libero Quotidiano newspaper on Monday. Kiev’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, which started in early June, “proceeds slowly,” the retired general remarked.

He mentioned a report by the Washington Post last week, which cited a classified US intelligence assessment that concluded “Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail to reach the key southeastern city of Melitopol,” and that the aim of severing Russia’s land bridge with Crimea would not be realized this year. According to Bertolini, this was “an acknowledgment that Kiev’s objectives can’t be achieved in the expected form and time frame.” “The Russians have an advantage in the number of men and firepower. The firepower unleashed by the Russians, especially when it comes to artillery, is superior and this is impressive considering the aid that has arrived in Ukraine from all over the West,” he said. The retired general suggested that there’s now an understanding in many circles that reclaiming territories captured by Russia from Ukraine is “unrealistic.” He also pointed out that “a ceasefire with the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, at any moment, and resuming hostilities won’t suffice for the Russians.”

“The conflict can only be ended through negotiations” in which the interests of both sides are respected, Bertolini said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow remains ready for “meaningful dialogue” on Ukraine, but the prospects for negotiations with the West “are non-existent at this stage.” Kiev’s main backer, the US, which declared the goal of inflicting a strategic defeat to Russia in Ukraine, “has no intention of ending the conflict,” he insisted. Washington maintains that any negotiated settlement must be based on the so-called ten-point peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which calls for Russia to withdraw to borders claimed by Kiev, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals. Lavrov described this as a “pointless ultimatum.”

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“..the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money..”

Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)

Ukraine should hasten to end hostilities with Russia before the flow of American military and financial aid to the country dries up, a former aide to two Ukrainian presidents has said. In a video on his YouTube channel posted on Tuesday, Oleg Soskin, who served as an economic adviser to Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma in the 1990s, described the US as “the key country” in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, arguing that if it cuts off its military assistance to Kiev, the latter will sign some kind of agreement with Moscow “within days.” Against this backdrop, Soskin suggested that the US Congress may refuse to rubberstamp the request of US President Joe Biden to provide Kiev with an additional $24 billion in assistance, citing reports of growing reluctance among Republicans to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“Basically, this means that the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money,” he said. If the US, which has already provided Kiev with tens of billions of dollars in various forms of aid, were to stop helping Ukraine, its NATO allies, including Germany, Britain and all other European countries, would follow suit, crippling Kiev’s military potential, the ex-official noted. “I think that [Ukraine] should stop before the US does that,” Soskin said, suggesting that “there should be a meeting of smart people in Ukraine who would be more forward-looking” than Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his small group of what he called “war chanters.”

Soskin also noted that the Ukrainian army has already lost the backbone of its seasoned troops, with replacements being prone to serious morale issues. He said that Kiev is forcibly drafting inexperienced soldiers who are reluctant to fight. “Ukrainians lack the motivation they had in the past year and a half,” he pointed out, suggesting that, under these conditions, Kiev stands little chance against the Russian army. The ex-official’s comments come on the heels of a recent Politico report that said “even pro-Ukraine Republicans are hedging against supporting” a new assistance package for Ukraine, with Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland noting that Kiev “can’t win the war and, therefore, the US should reconsider further stocking its defenses.”

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US Just Cannot Satisfy Ukraine’s Financial Hunger..

US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)

The US should reduce the assistance it’s providing to Ukraine because it cannot maintain its current level of support, the head of a leading conservative think tank has said. European nations need to do more so Kiev can keep fighting Russia, added Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation. He set out the case for stopping the flow of aid on Tuesday. The Washington-based think tank prides itself on its ties to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Roberts said during an appearance on Fox News, but much has changed in America since he was in power. “The US is much weaker economically than it was. It’s impossible for us to prosecute military interventions in multiple places around the world,” he said.

Consequently, Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ principle needs to be adapted to new realities, Roberts argued.“The US simply cannot afford the level of support that it is giving the Ukrainians. The American people are saying that,” he stated, citing recent opinion polls in the US, which indicated that the US public was turning against the continued bankrolling of Kiev. Earlier this month, the administration of President Joe Biden requested an additional $40 billion in funding from Congress, including $13 billion for Ukrainian military assistance and $7.3 billion for Kiev’s other needs. The proposal was tied to the provision of $12 billion for disaster relief in the US.

Roberts said he wanted the Ukrainians to “win” and urged Germany and France to “pull more of their own weight” to achieve that goal. When asked for his definition of a Ukrainian victory, he said he wanted “precious lives that are being lost to stop being lost today.” The Biden administration has stated that it was up to the Ukrainian government to decide how they should prosecute the war and what their end goal was. Kiev has declared that its only option is to seize all territory that it claims to be under its sovereignty, including Crimea. Moscow considers the conflict part of a US proxy war against Russia, which, it claims, Washington intends to wage “to the last Ukrainian.”

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Video is in Tuesday’s Debt Rattle.

Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)

Washington needs to make every effort to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as Kiev’s counteroffensive has failed, and any Western intervention would be a disaster, a former Pentagon adviser has argued. Retired US Army colonel Douglas Macgregor told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday that claims of an imminent Ukrainian victory are a “lie” and that the latest campaign against Russian forces, launched in June, is “collapsing, because what is happening on the battlefield is horrific.” Ukraine may have lost “at least 40,000” servicemen over the past month, Macgregor claimed, while “Ukrainian hospitals are full,” and troops have been surrendering due to heavy losses and an inability to evacuate their wounded.

Moscow still has large personnel reserves and a steady supply of ammunition and missiles, Macgregor noted, warning that the West might not be able to keep up the current supply levels. “It will take us many, many months to come up to this kind of standard when we can compete in a high-end conventional warfare,” he said. The former Pentagon adviser predicted that any attempt to save Kiev from defeat might require direct Western intervention, which would have catastrophic consequences. “If we intervene…. the Russians will be ready for that. And the consequences for us and for NATO will be devastating, because we are not ready,” Mcgregor said. The US and its allies might eventually “fall back on the nuclear deterrent,” putting the world on the brink of all-out conflict.

“The smartest thing that we can do is end this war,” Macgregor concluded. The former adviser’s interview came more than two months into Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive, which has so far failed to bring any tangible results, while inflicting heavy losses on Ukraine. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev’s forces have lost some 43,000 soldiers and 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment since early June.

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“Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.”

Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)

Ukraine has reportedly banned foreign journalists from visiting frontline positions without any written permission by its Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny. Switzerland’s Le Temps newspaper reported that this act of censorship could be explained by Kiev’s reluctance to make huge losses public after its troops were unable to break through the Russian defense lines amid their counteroffensive. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar, for her part, earlier argued that Western media reports about the deployment of the elite 82nd Airborne Brigade had led to strikes on its positions. All this shows that “Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.

Referring to the counteroffensive, he said that Kiev is unwilling to “take responsibility for launching an attack that has no chance of succeeding.” He added: “Primarily because they lack air cover, they’re now trying to blame journalists or someone else.” “What’s so absurd about this? You remember we spent the first three months of 2023 hearing about Ukraine saying, ‘We’re going to attack or launch a counteroffensive’. I mean, who does that? If you’re going to launch an offensive, you’re going to sucker-punch people. You want to surprise them. You don’t want to announce it in advance. So this is just one more sign of Ukrainian failure,” Johnson underscored. The ex-CIA officer argued that even if Ukraine had “some extra reserves hanging around”, it would “not change the situation on the battlefield.” He also theorized over a hypothetical scenario assuming the Ukrainian military had gotten the better of Russian troops during Kiev’s counteroffensive.

“If Ukraine was winning, if Ukraine was defeating Russia, they [Kiev authorities] would have reporters out there on the front lines, they’d have cameras. They’d be doing live updates every 15 minutes, because there would be good news to tell. Well, there’s no good news. There’s very bad news. Ukraine is getting defeated and they’re trying to cover that up. And the only problem is as long as there are smartphones, government can’t cover up what’s happening on the ground,” Johnson concluded. The Ukrainian military launched its much-touted counteroffensive in early June after multiple postponements. Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored late last month that “the enemy was not successful in all directions of the fight.” According to him, “All counteroffensive attempts have been stopped, and the enemy has been pushed back with heavy losses.”

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“Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future..”

Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)

Russia’s special military operation pursues the goal of ending the war in Ukraine unleashed by a number of Western countries and their satellites, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of BRICS leaders. “Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future. Our actions in Ukraine have only one reason – to put an end to the war that was unleashed by the West and their satellites in Ukraine against the people living in Donbass,” Putin said. He stressed that it was the wish of a number of Western countries to preserve their hegemony in the world that “has led to the grave crisis in Ukraine.” Putin recalled that “first, with the help of the Western countries, an unconstitutional coup d’etat was carried out in that country, and then a war was unleashed against those people who did not agree with that coup.” “This brutal war, a war of extermination, had lasted for eight years,” Putin emphasized.

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“The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again..”

NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)

NATO is fighting a full-scale war against Russia, using the Kiev authorities as proxies, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an op-ed dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and Russia’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which was published on the aif.ru website. The politician pointed out that “hostile observers” should have learned a lesson from those developments but “unfortunately, it did not happen.” “The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again,” Medvedev said. “Our adversaries are up to their necks in the proxy war that NATO is fighting against us in Ukraine through the hands of the Kiev regime, which is a full-scale and deadly one,” he stressed.

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“..there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen..”

BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)

There’s no ‘F’ (for France) in ‘BRICS’ but that didn’t stop French President Emmanuel Macron from trying to “F” it up. It wasn’t that long ago that Western leaders wouldn’t give the BRICS the time of day, treating the economic bloc like the girl next door who didn’t warrant even a second glance. But now that she’s all grown up and has a massive purchasing-power-adjusted GDP that’s set to beat that of the G7, according to the International Monetary Fund, it seems to have triggered Macron’s seduction instincts. And probably his gold-digging ones, too, particularly given the richness of natural resources of the BRICS member states and their partners, notably in Africa, and at a time when France and Europe face a greater lack of resources, due to misguided policies on everything from cutting off cheap Russian energy over the conflict in Ukraine to having the welcome mat yanked out from under them in Africa, with stability operations that resulted in a proliferation of coups.

If any Western leader was going to have the audacity to try getting into a summit led by countries that they’re constantly bullying – notably China and Russia – it makes sense that it would be Macron. The French President has a unique talent for speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. On one hand, he caters to Washington’s agenda by toeing its party line on Russia and China, while at the same time he occasionally brings up the need to maintain strategic autonomy from Washington. But whenever there’s a choice to be made, Macron ultimately follows the Washington agenda, even when it’s to France’s and the EU’s economic detriment.

But the mere fact that he’d asked for an invite to the 15th BRICS summit this week allows Macron to lay claim to open-mindedness. He can say that, hey, he tried to reach out, but that his hand was pushed away – which is like badmouthing a girl and then telling everyone that she won’t go out with you when she turns you down. Anyone with half a brain would think that the best thing to do now would be to go away and start proving yourself through your actions before asking for another date. The good news for Macron is that there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen suffering from a seemingly endless cost-of-living crisis.

Macron wants a date with the BRICS so badly that the bloc should really do with him and other Western leaders what Macron himself decided last year that the European Union should do with prospective members: set up a ‘kiddie table.’ The new ‘Baby BRICS’ summit could be the equivalent of Macron’s ‘European Political Community’ of countries seen as still having to prove themselves for EU membership, but who can still score an invite to a smaller summit alongside the ‘adult’ one, in the hope of being chosen for cherry-picked special trade relationships and customs arrangements of primary benefit to the EU.

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“There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be..”

Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has condemned the “Cold War mentality” still “haunting our world,” as he laid out his geopolitical vision at the BRICS summit in South Africa on Wednesday. “We gather at a time when the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation,” Xi told the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa in Johannesburg. He added that the world “is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.” “The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense,” he continued, before restating China’s position on the Ukraine conflict: that the fighting began for “complex reasons,” and that “no one should add fuel to the fire and worsen the situation.”

The Chinese president has maintained for several years that American hegemony is in decline, and that a more multipolar world – in which Washington must treat “rising” powers like China as equals – is emerging. Xi has publicly celebrated the rebalancing of power, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in March that both men were driving “changes, the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” Behind closed doors, he has reportedly warned his military that the geopolitical shift may lead to “the outbreak of a war and its chain reactions.”To avert this, Xi declared on Wednesday that “BRICS countries need to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations, and promote respect of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths.”

There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be,” he stated. The Chinese leader called for the strengthening of global institutions and the adoption of global rules based on the UN Charter, “rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice.” Beijing has repeatedly condemned the US for positioning itself as leader of the “rules-based international order,” while violating the same rules that it applies to others.

“BRICS countries should practice true multilateralism, uphold the UN-centered international system, support and strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs,” Xi said, calling for increased trade, financial, and development ties between the five-nation group. Xi was not the only BRICS leader to denounce Western hegemony at the Johannesburg summit. Addressing the conference by video link, Putin blamed the conflict in Ukraine on the West’s attempts to preserve its power, and declared that BRICS stands for “the formation of a multipolar world order, truly just and based on international law.”

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“While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.”

Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)

The Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizes the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee that was handling the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine: “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee.” One senior official even complimented Shokin on his progress in fighting corruption. So Biden was told to deliver on the federal aid but elected to unilaterally demand Shokin be fired. When the firing occurred, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that paid Hunter Biden a huge amount of money. The State Department had identified it as a corrupt company engaged in bribery. Recent testimony from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, revealed that Burisma executives made the removal of Shokin a top priority and raised it with Hunter.

He described how the need to neutralize Shokin was raised with Hunter and how “a call to Washington” was made in response. While Archer also said that “the narrative spun to me was that Shokin was under control,” he and others also heard concerns over Shokin and the risks of the investigation. President Biden has insisted, “I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that’s what we should be focusing on.” Indeed, that will now be the focus, including the close correlation of the money and demands going to Hunter and the actions of his father. There is evidence the State Department was alarmed by Hunter’s work and its impact on anti-corruption efforts. While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.

Leading diplomat George Kent wrote then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, “The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules.” As part of the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats largely dismissed earlier accounts of these misgivings and portrayed Shokin as a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor perpetuating corruption. Biden’s Ukrainian Corn Pop story was celebrated as a gutsy moment of leadership.

During the impeachment, Kent said Biden’s demand was consistent with US policy. Yet we now know the State Department had found progress was being made on corruption and Shokin was praised in private correspondence. The demand for the replacement of the equivalent of the attorney general in another country is an extraordinary move. We give massive amounts of money to countries with rampant corruption and authoritarian records. But Biden decided Shokin had to go and used public money to make that happen.

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“We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this.”

Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)

In response to reports of COVID restrictions, including social distancing and masking being reimplemented by colleges and offices, Senator Rand Paul asserted that those pushing the measures again “have no shame.” During a Fox News interview, Paul described the move as “hysteria” being pushed by the leftist media to financially benefit their corporate pharma owners. “These people are so conflicted,” Paul said, adding “It’s so dishonest to put people like that on the air to promote a product that they make more money from … promote this hysteria. This defies all logic. It defies science, and it defies common sense.” “To see this coming up again, these people have no shame,” Paul continued, pointing to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, a black private liberal arts college that has reinstated the measures as part of a “precautionary step.”

“That university that’s wanting to mask up and do all this testing — zero cases,” Paul urged, adding “But even worse than that, even when COVID was really more potent in 2020, the death rate for young, healthy people turned out to be close to zero.” “We don’t know for sure because the CDC won’t release it, but we do know that Germany released all of their data, and not one young, healthy person died. So, it’s a crime to mandate masks. It’s a crime to mandate vaccines, which do have some risks for young, healthy people,” Paul further noted. The Senator urged that Americans are “not going to lay down and take it again,”adding “there will be more resistance” this time. “We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this. These are not high-minded people. They are making money off of us and making money off of generating hysteria,” the Senator asserted.

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Easy to jump to conclusions..

Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

The internet has exploded with an avalanche breaking reports that Wagner chief Yvgeny Prigozhin’s business jet has crashed over Russia’s Tver region, northwest of Moscow. Unconfirmed reports say anywhere from seven to ten people were on board, all presumed dead – but it was initially unclear if Prigozhin himself was on board at the time. Russian media sources are now confirming that he was on board the downed plane, and is presumed dead.
This has led to immediate speculation that the private plane could have been shot down upon Putin’s orders (or people in the military command placed a bomb?… or a sophisticated Western intel op?). Per FT’s Moscow correspondent: “Wagner-linked channels say Russian air defense *shot down the plane* – the same private jet Prigozhin regularly uses.”

The Kremlin has quickly issued confirmation that the aircraft did indeed belong to the controversial Wagner leader who led a mutiny against the defense ministry June 23-24. Per official news wires out of Russia
• RUSSIA SAYS 10 PEOPLE KILLED AFTER PRIVATE JET CRASHES IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW
• RUSSIA SAYS EVGENY PRIGOZHIN COULD BE ON BOARD OF PLANE THAT CRASHED IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW – TASS

Russian official sources are confirming, including RT… KOMMERSANT: • PRIGOZHIN HAS DIED IN THE PLANE CRASH IN RUSSIA’S TVER, RUSSIA’S FEDERAL AIR TRANSPORT AGENCY SAYS. State news outlet RT writes in an update: “A private jet traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed on Wednesday in Russia’s Tver Region. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said all 10 people on board had died. Rosaviation has since said that Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company, was listed among the passengers.” And additional statements are emerging: Former Putin advisor Sergei Markov: “The murder of Prigozhin is the main achievement of Ukraine and all enemies of Russia will rejoice” — Al Jazeera

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Crustacean
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694275094825107944

 

 

Maui

 

 

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Aug 062023
 
 August 6, 2023  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


El Greco St. Paul and St. Peter 1595

 

Asians Are Less ‘Humane’ – Ukrainian Security Chief (RT)
Who is Responsible for Ukraine’s Failed Counteroffensive? (Scott Ritter)
What Should Russia Expect From Saudi Arabia’s Ukraine ‘Peace Summit’? (RT)
Ex-Pakistani PM Imran Khan Jailed For Three Years (RT)
DOJ Seeks Protective Order in Election Case (ET)
A Successful Prosecution Would Fold Space And Time (Taibbi)
Niger Junta Turns To Wagner For Help – Media (RT)
X to Fund Legal Bills of People ‘Unfairly Treated’ for Posts, Likes on X (Sp.)
Austrian PM Proposes Constitutional ‘Right to Cash’ (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full German Nazism, complete with Untermenschen etc. This is what you fund.

Asians Are Less ‘Humane’ – Ukrainian Security Chief (RT)

Russians are “Asians” and, therefore, lack the “humanity” that Ukrainians purportedly possess, Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, has claimed. The top official made the remark as he spoke live on Ukrainian TV, which has been heavily censored and turned into a state-approved “broadcasting marathon” amid the ongoing conflict. “I’m fine with Asians, but Russians are Asians. They have a completely different culture, vision. Our key difference from them is humanity,” Danilov stated. The security chief, as well as other top Ukrainian officials, have repeatedly made hateful remarks about Russians during – and even well before – the ongoing hostilities between the two countries broke out back in February 2022.


Danilov has repeatedly promised to “kill” Russians anywhere across the globe, with similar extreme statements consistently made by Mikhail Podoliak, the top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Podoliak has repeatedly claimed that all Ukrainians universally “hate Russians,” as well as voiced calls to “kill Russians” on a daily basis. Similarly radical remarks have been repeatedly made by the Ukrainian military spy chief, Kirill Budanov, who also expressed the same urge. Threats by the latter have been addressed by Russia’s permanent envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, who branded them a “blatant example of hateful remarks, Russophobia and incitement of violence based on nationality.”

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“.. the fetid stench of rotting corpses, abandoned by their comrades who fled for their lives.”

Who is Responsible for Ukraine’s Failed Counteroffensive? (Scott Ritter)

On a normal summer’s day, the road to Rabotino would be empty, save for the odd combine tractor and the vehicles driven by farmers and their families as they tend to the fields of crops they had planted in spring. The summer’s heat would reflect off the horizon, creating glimmering mirages, while the still air would echo with the chirping of birds and the buzzing of insects. On a normal summer’s day, the road to Rabotino would resemble paradise. Today, the road to Rabotino can best be described as a highway to hell: the serene landscape scarred with craters made by artillery shells, bombs, and mines. Fields that once grew crops intended to feed the world now seem to produce another crop—the torn, burned-out hulks of Ukrainian tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other military vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

The air buzzes not with bees, but bullets, and the sky above is torn by the sound of shells passing overhead, on their way to their intended target, often consisting of a new crop of military metal waiting to be consumed by fire. The smell of fresh soil, young crops, and flowers of the field has been replaced by the fetid stench of rotting corpses, abandoned by their comrades who fled for their lives. The Russian Ministry of Defense has assessed that, since the Ukrainian counteroffensive began in early June, the Ukrainian Army has suffered some 43,000 casualties, with more than 4,900 pieces of equipment, including 1,831 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (among which are included 25 German-made Leopard tanks and 21 US-made M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles) having been destroyed.

Russian casualties, while unspecified, have been alluded to by President Putin, who stated that the kill ratio was 10:1 in Russia’s favor. That equates to 4,300 casualties: the brutal blade of war cuts both ways. The casualties suffered by Ukraine roughly align with the casualties suffered by German forces during their offensive operations against the Soviet Army in the battle of Kursk, fought in the month of July and August 1943. The Kursk battle was one of the largest during the Second World War.This should give one an idea of the scope and scale of the violence which has transpired in and around the village of Rabotino, and elsewhere in the Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions where Ukraine and Russian forces are confronting one another.

When an army suffers a defeat of the scope and scale of that suffered by Ukraine near Rabotino, and in other fields and villages across the line of contact with Russia, it is normally incumbent upon the leadership of the defeated forces to ascertain the reasons why the defeat occurred, and then to undertake remedial action to correct the problems identified.It came weeks after being on the receiving end of criticism from their erstwhile allies and partners in NATO, who provided Ukraine with both the material used to equip the Ukrainian Army, and training on how this equipment was to be used in battle against the Russians.

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Where’s China?

What Should Russia Expect From Saudi Arabia’s Ukraine ‘Peace Summit’? (RT)

Political expert Andrey Dubnov:

The goal of the conference is not to formulate “agreements acceptable to all parties.” Russia has not been invited to this event, and this makes sense, because otherwise the meeting would have been doomed to failure. It is obvious that Moscow’s position has been articulated; the last time it was expressed was at the Russia-Africa summit. Moscow’s main position is essentially an arrangement that can be called a ceasefire, based on Russia’s retention of the Ukrainian territories now organized as four Russian regions. It is difficult to imagine that Moscow is prepared to abandon this as its main negotiating position. On the other hand, Kiev’s stance on peace is articulated as being possible only if Russia withdraws its troops to the 1991 borders. With such positions of the parties, a general meeting would be pointless.

What is the purpose of the summit in Saudi Arabia? Since this initiative comes mainly from Kiev and is backed by the US, it is now about consolidating the whole wider world – not just the West, but the big South, including the BRICS member countries (India, Brazil and South Africa). It is an attempt to find a consolidated expression of support for the Ukrainian peace plan. Within this “formula of support” there are some limits regarding the flexibility of Kiev’s negotiating position: under what conditions it is ready to give up its categorical demand to return to the 1991 borders and to compromise with Russia? Clarifying this kind of flexibility may be one of the ulterior goals of this conference. But practice shows that such diplomatic conferences look first and foremost like big, big PR. Diplomacy needs silence and confidentiality. The Saudi initiative does not yet provide for this silence and confidentiality, so it is still more of a political meeting than a search for a diplomatic solution to the problem.

President Vladimir Zelensky’s peace plan will be at the center of the Saudi initiative. Within this framework, an attempt will be made to somehow find acceptable windows in which Kiev, I repeat, will be prepared to make further compromises with Moscow. But at the end of the day, everything will depend on the outcome of the military operations on the ground, which are being actively pursued. No peace plan for Ukraine can become a reality without China’s participation. The meeting in Saudi Arabia could be a precursor to a financial and economic assistance plan to rebuild Ukraine. This is how the plan to help Afghanistan began at the Bonn conference many years ago.

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Remarkable how similar his story is to Trump’s. One man vs the establishment.

Ex-Pakistani PM Imran Khan Jailed For Three Years (RT)

Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was issued with a three-year jail sentence by an Islamabad court on Saturday after he was found guilty on corruption charges. The verdict means that Khan, who claims the prosecution was politically motivated, will not be able to contest elections later this year. In a pre-recorded statement released on X (formerly Twitter), Khan told his supporters: “I have only one appeal, don’t sit at home silently.” Judge Humayun Dilawar declared in court that Khan, 70, had “deliberately submitted fake details” after he was accused of illegally profiting from the sale of gifts he received while serving as Pakistan’s head of state between 2018 and 2022. After issuing the three-year custodial term, the judge also ordered Khan to be banned from politics for a period of five years.

Following the verdict, Khan, who was not in court, was arrested at his home in Lahore and taken into police custody. The claims against the former prime minister are a case of “political victimization,” according to his lawyer Intezar Hussain Panjutha. “Khan was not given an opportunity to defend himself and say his side of the story,” he said after the verdict. “We wanted to provide witnesses in his favor but he was not allowed this opportunity. Khan was not given a fair trial.” Khan’s barrister, Gohar Khan, added in comments to The Dawn newspaper that the court’s verdict had been a “murder of justice.” However, opponents of the former politician appeared to celebrate the court’s judgment outside the building, with some chanting: “Imran Khan is a thief.” More than 150 cases have been brought against Khan, the former sports star turned populist political figure, since he was ousted from office last April following a no-confidence vote. He has denied all wrongdoing.

Barring a successful appeal, Khan’s conviction means he will be prohibited from standing in Pakistan’s general elections, which are expected to take place in October or November. Khan, who had unsuccessfully called for early elections to take place, has previously stated his belief that Pakistan’s military authorities have attempted to obstruct his Tehreek-e-Insaf party from regaining political power. It’s the second time in recent months that Khan has been arrested. Around 100 paramilitary troops were involved in his detention last May in connection with one of the numerous cases against him. Khan has alleged that Pakistan’s military is responsible for attempts to subdue his political influence. He has also claimed that the United States has conspired with Pakistan’s government to prevent him from returning to political power.

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“IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”

DOJ Seeks Protective Order in Election Case (ET)

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith on Aug. 4 requested the federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s case to issue a “protective order” in light of a social media post made by the former president. The Aug. 4 Truth Social post by Mr. Trump said, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Following this, Mr. Smith urged U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to “enter a protective order governing or restricting discovery or inspection” of case details, to restrict what Mr. Trump can share publicly about the case and evidence. “Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” argued Mr. Smith in a filing, citing the Truth Social post.


“If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” Mr. Smith said, adding that such posts may influence jurors.A spokesperson for Mr. Trump responded immediately to the filing implying that the post was not a retaliation against Mr. Smith’s charges. “The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth,” said the brief statement.

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“I don’t care about a link… I have a much better link,” and “I have a lot of friends in Detroit… Detroit is totally corrupt.”

A Successful Prosecution Would Fold Space And Time (Taibbi)

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment is a case within a case, a prosecutorial enchilada filled with things for people of all political persuasions to hate. The outside is a shell of a conventional conspiracy prosecution, and these parts are genuinely damaging for Donald Trump. Inside, it’s a deranged authoritarian fantasy, at times reading more like a 45-page Louise Mensch tweet than an indictment. This radical core is somehow scarier than the allegations against Trump and co-conspirators like Rudy Giuliani, John Eastment, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Cheeseboro. Despite early criticism describing the case as entirely about protected speech, Special Prosecutor Jack Smith’s case does focus on some overt acts, and these sections are buttressed by witnesses who could be convincing across the spectrum.

Former Arizona Speaker of the House and onetime Trump supporter Rusty Bowers will describe being asked not to certify the results by, among others, Trump and Giuliani. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the RNC, will say she was told votes by so-called “fraudulent electors” would only be deployed if election litigation was successful. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is rumored to be running for president and took instant advantage of indictment news Tuesday, will testify Trump told him, “You’re too honest,” in response to prods to refuse to certify the outcome.

If Smith simply focused on those damaging episodes in states like Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia, or on Trump’s interactions with Pence, this prosecution would be an easier sell to the general population. Instead, Smith has tried to pen a Unified Field Theory of insurrection that would massively expand the meaning of concepts like incitement to include false statements, tweets, and other forms of protected speech, down to classic Trumpisms like “I don’t care about a link… I have a much better link,” and “I have a lot of friends in Detroit… Detroit is totally corrupt.”

In fact, if rumors are true and the four counts filed by Smith this week are later complemented by a superseding indictment, this document may end up expanding the definition of “seditious conspiracy” to include those things as well. As Adam Kinzinger said this week, he hoped additional counts will hold Trump “accountable” for all the actions of January 6th. It’s not hard to read this and see the framework of an argument that Trump’s ideas, tweets and “knowingly false statements” were elements of the same conspiracy to “violently disrupt” the election for which people like Oath Keepers Elmer Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs have already been convicted and sentenced to 18 and 12 years in prison, respectively. A successful prosecution would fold space and time to make legal speech felony violence.

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Flammable.

Niger Junta Turns To Wagner For Help – Media (RT)

One of the leaders of last week’s coup in Niger has reportedly sought the assistance of Russian defense contractor Wagner Group PMC as the junta nears a deadline to either return the country’s ousted president to power or face a possible military intervention by neighboring nations. General Salifou Moody allegedly made the request during a visit to neighboring Mali, where he met with a Wagner representative, the Associated Press reported on Saturday, citing French journalist Wassim Nasr, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center. The meeting was first reported by France 24, and Nasr said he had confirmed the talks with a French diplomat and three people familiar with the matter in Mali.

“They need (Wagner) because they will become their guarantee to hold onto power,” Nasr told the AP, claiming that Wagner is considering the request. Neither Wagner nor Russian government officials have commented on the junta’s alleged request for help from the contractor. The Kremlin said on Friday that any interference in Niger from powers outside the region wouldn’t likely improve the situation. “We continue to favor a swift return to constitutional normality without endangering human lives,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has called the coup a “justified rebellion of the people against Western exploitation.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to send troops into Niger if the coup leaders don’t return President Mohamed Bazoum to power by Sunday. Bazoum has been under house arrest since his ouster and has asked the US “and the entire international community” to restore his government. The militaries of several ECOWAS members, including Nigeria, have agreed on a plan for their intervention in Niger. Wagner has become a major player in the African security landscape, though it’s unclear how its influence on the continent stands after its failed mutiny against Moscow in June. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the future of the contracts Wagner signed with various African countries is a matter for those client governments to decide. The firm’s troops have reportedly operated in such countries as Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Mozambique and the Central African Republic.

Mali and Burkina Faso are among the ECOWAS member states that have sided with the Niger junta following the coup. Bazoum accused the two neighbors of employing “criminal Russian mercenaries.” African Freedom Institute President Franklin Nyamsi warned in an RT interview on Thursday that if ECOWAS carried out its threat to send troops into Niger, it would be seen as a declaration of war on the junta’s allies, including Mali and Burkina Faso. Such a conflict could escalate dramatically as the warring factions seek help from the world’s military superpowers, he said, adding, “We are now at the door of a world African war.”

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Wonder how the idea would work out in practice.

X to Fund Legal Bills of People ‘Unfairly Treated’ for Posts, Likes on X (Sp.)

US billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk pledged on Saturday that his social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter), will pay legal bills of those people who were “unfairly treated” at workplaces by their employers for posts and likes on the platform. He added that there would be “no limit” to funding the bills and called on people to inform the platform of such cases. “If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill,” Musk said on X. In late October 2022, Musk finalized the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, a US company founded in 2006 and headquartered in San Francisco, California. Twitter Corporation ceased to exist as a separate company as a result of its merger with X Corp. founded by Musk in 2006. In late July, Twitter’s logo was changed from a blue bird to a black-and-white X logo. Musk specified that the new logo symbolized “the imperfections in us all that make us unique.”

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“..the right to cash was worthless if “there won’t be a single ATM left in Austria..”

Austrian PM Proposes Constitutional ‘Right to Cash’ (Sp.)

As cashless payment methods proliferate across Europe, Austrian Prime Minister Karl Nehammer has moved to legally preserve paying in the old-fashioned way, with banknotes and coins. Speaking on Friday, the conservative Austrian leader proposed a “constitutional protection of cash as a means of payment,” saying he would direct Finance Minister Magnus Brunner and the country’s central bank to come up with a plan in the coming months to ensure a “basic supply” of cash remains in the economy. “Everyone should have the opportunity to decide freely how and with what he wants to pay,” he said. “That can be by card, by transfer, perhaps in future also with the digital euro, but also with cash. This freedom to choose must and will remain.”

“More and more people are worried that cash could be restricted as a means of payment in Austria,” Nehammer said, adding that people have a “right to cash.” Nehammer noted that his comments are in response to claims circulating on social media that the country could soon do away with cash payments, forcing customers to use bank cards or payment apps. According to the Austrian leader, €47 billion is withdrawn from ATMs every year in Austria and the average Austrian carries €102 in cash. Further, two-thirds of payments under €20 are made in cash, he said. Roughly 9.1 million people live in the Central European country, which is part of the European Union and the Eurozone.

The debate isn’t new to Austria, and Nehammer’s proposal was criticized by both left and right politicos. Philip Kucher, an MP from the Social Democratic Party, said the right to cash was worthless if “there won’t be a single ATM left in Austria,” while the right-wing Freedom Party accused the prime minister of stealing their idea. While the Eurozone nations have been increasing options for cashless payment, the European Central Bank has also committed itself to preserving cash as a payment form. The Eurosystem Cash 2030 strategy was launched in 2020. A study published by the ECB in March found that within the Eurozone, cash is still the most frequent payment method, accounting for 59% of transactions. However, 55% of consumers said they preferred cashless payments. They also found that the value of card payments had exceeded the value of cash payments for the first time, rising to 46% of transactions.

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Aug 022023
 


Claude Monet Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute 1908

 

Trump Indictment Shows Free, Fair 2024 Election No Longer Possible (Sp.)
Ukraine Discovers ‘Massive’ Draft-Dodging Conspiracy (RT)
Lukashenko Wants To Incorporate Wagner Fighters Into New Contracted Army (TASS)
Kremlin Doubles Down On Grain Deal (RT)
Brazil Sets Terms For Expansion Of BRICS – Reuters (RT)
Niger Bans Uranium And Gold Exports To France (RT)
First We Go for Moscow, Then We Take Beijing (Pepe Escobar)
Twitter Sues Censorship Advocate (RT)
Russiagate To Blame For Ukraine Conflict – Trump (RT)
Jill Biden’s Ex-Husband Talks About “Very Dangerous Biden Crime Family” (ZH)
Devon Archer Reveals the ‘Niceties’ of Influence-Peddling (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Body count

 

 

Trump Roseanne 1998
https://twitter.com/i/status/1686372099848331264

 

 

EV
https://twitter.com/i/status/1686291955511332864

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘We will put you in jail if you dispute elections..’

Trump Indictment Shows Free, Fair 2024 Election No Longer Possible (Sp.)

The new charges against Donald Trump offer conclusive proof that there can be no talk of a free and fair election in 2024, Tom Fitton, president of conservative legal and election watchdog group Judicial Watch believes. “This indictment is a naked threat and act of intimidation by the Democratic Party against any and all of their political opponents. The message from the Biden regime is: ‘We will put you in jail if you dispute elections’. A free and fair 2024 election is officially impossible,” Fitton wrote in a release following Tuesday’s indictment. “The Biden administration has left the rule of law and the US Constitution behind with its latest indictment of President Trump for daring to dispute the 2020 presidential election, as is his God-given right as a president, a citizen, and a candidate under state, federal and constitutional law,” Fitton added.

The non-profit head accused President Biden and Justice Department chief Merrick Garland of “trying to jail” Trump and turn him “into a political prisoner” to distract the public from “conclusive evidence” of President Biden’s “personal corruption” related to his and his son’s alleged pay-to-play political influence peddling scheme. Fitton called on Congress to “do everything under the law to undo this attempt to wreck our republican form of government,” and called on the courts to “finally step up and shut down this unprecedented prosecutorial abuse.”

Donald Trump is the first president in US history to face felony indictment, and now has three outstanding sets of charges against him – including 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to an alleged payoff to a former adult film star, and 31 counts related to “willfully retaining national defense information under the Espionage Act” over his storage of classified documents at his Florida estate. The latest indictment features four counts for alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, including: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and a conspiracy against rights.

If convicted on all counts, the former president of the United States could get up to 641 years in jail (i.e. over 25 consecutive life sentences). Trump has dismissed all charges against him as a “witch hunt,” with his attorneys characterizing the attempts to prosecute him as a politicized “clown show.” His supporters believe the charges are a bald-faced attempt to pressure and intimidate him out of running for office for a third time in 2024 after the collapse of Russiagate (the claim that Trump was a secret Kremlin agent) and twin impeachments (the first related to an attempt to get Kiev to reopen a probe into Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, the second to the January 6, 2021 unrest at the Capitol).

Indictment timing

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In Ukraine, police don’t arrest such guys, they demand part of the take.

Ukraine Discovers ‘Massive’ Draft-Dodging Conspiracy (RT)

Ukrainian police and Security Service (SBU) said on Tuesday they had discovered a widespread conspiracy in 11 regions and the capital to issue fraudulent medical exemption certificates to men seeking to avoid mobilization. The Prosecutor-General’s Office announced that 100 offices and residences in Kiev, Kiev Region, Odessa, Transcarpathia, Poltava, Vinnitsa, Cherkasy, Chernigov, Lviv, Zhytomyr, and Ivano-Frankovsk had been searched as part of the investigation into the scheme. Prosecutors say that officials of regional recruitment centers teamed up with members of military-medical commissions to create “a scheme for issuing certificates declaring men unfit for military service due to their health”and had them removed from the draft register.

The conspirators allegedly charged an average of $6,000 dollars for the “service” and their customers did not even show up for their medical exams, based on the absence of any electronic medical records, the prosecutors said. The recipients then used these fraudulent medical exemptions to travel outside Ukraine. During the searches of doctors’ offices, recruitment centers and residences of suspected draft dodgers, the police seized “medical records, logs of registration of medical findings, patient certificates, [and] other medical and accounting documents.” The entire conspiracy was allegedly “mediated by third parties,” who remained unnamed. Ukrainian national police and the SBU are involved in the investigation. There have been no arrests as of yet, but “notices of suspicion” have been issued to several individuals.

The government in Kiev has ordered several waves of conscription since the hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022. In late June, recruitment centers in several regions stopped sending individual summons, issuing instead blanket notifications to all men of military age to report in. Ukraine does not publish official casualty figures for its military, but photos posted on social media in recent months have shown cemeteries across the country rapidly filling up amid a grinding offensive against prepared Russian positions in the south. During the month of July alone, the Ukrainian military lost almost 21,000 soldiers and 2,227 units of military equipment, 10 German-supplied Leopard tanks, 11 US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and 50 self-propelled guns from several Western countries, according to a report by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Monday.

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The state’s private army.

Lukashenko Wants To Incorporate Wagner Fighters Into New Contracted Army (TASS)

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Time warp.

Kremlin Doubles Down On Grain Deal (RT)

Russia has said it is prepared to “immediately” resume the defunct Black Sea grain deal, but insisted it would only do so after its conditions are met. Brokered by the UN and Türkiye last year, the agreement allowed agricultural goods to continue flowing through Ukrainian ports.Speaking after Washington’s United Nations envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, claimed that the Russian government might be “interested in returning to discussions” about the grain deal earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified the Russian stance in comments to Sputnik. “Moscow is ready to immediately return to the grain deal. But this will take place only after the conditions concerning Russia are fulfilled,” he told the outlet on Tuesday.

The Kremlin outlined the circumstances under which it would return to the grain deal on multiple occasions in recent weeks, with Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, citing several distinct conditions. These include lifting Western sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports, reconnecting Russian financial institutions to the SWIFT payment system, and ending restrictions on Russian imports of spare parts for agricultural machinery. Polyansky also insisted the grain deal “must recover its initial humanitarian nature” and help to alleviate food scarcity in developing nations, rather than making rich countries even more wealthy. Yury Ushakov, the foreign policy adviser for Russian President Vladimir Putin, has also expressed willingness to continue the deal. Not long after the agreement was voided by Moscow in mid-July, the adviser argued that the pact “is not fully done for, but simply suspended, because the Russian part of this package decision was not implemented.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin also explained that the grain deal is still technically in effect, but noted that the Western sanctions relief mandated under the arrangement had not come to fruition. “We have been receiving promises for an entire year,” he said regarding the economic penalties. Mediated with help from the UN and Ankara, the agreement was established in July 2022, creating a humanitarian corridor through the Black Sea to allow grain and fertilizer shipments to leave Ukraine’s ports. Moscow repeatedly complained about its unmet conditions before allowing the deal to expire on July 18, also insisting that Kiev had exploited the safe corridor to launch military attacks on Russia.

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Not Brazil’s call.

Brazil Sets Terms For Expansion Of BRICS – Reuters (RT)

Brazil is worried that a rapid expansion of BRICS, an intragovernmental economic forum in which it is a founding member, would destabilize the organization and diminish the roles of the current member states, government sources told Reuters. “An expansion could transform the bloc into something else,” an anonymous Brazilian official was quoted by the news agency on Wednesday as saying. “Brazil’s position has been concerned with the cohesion of the group and preservation of our space in a group of important countries.” BRICS currently includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, with the latter joining the original four members in 2010. The club touts itself as counterbalancing global Western influence as the world transitions to a multipolar political order.

It currently accounts for around 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of its economy, and is developing alternatives to entrenched international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Dozens of nations have announced their interest in joining BRICS, with Bolivia doing so on Monday, and 22 have formally applied for membership. Current members are discussing what formal criteria candidates should meet, in hopes that they can come to a consensus in time for the upcoming summit of leaders in Johannesburg on August 20-22.China and Russia have expressed support for expanding the organization, and South Africa favors the move provided that the rules are carefully considered. India “has reservations,” but has largely abandoned its past reluctance, according to Reuters, leaving Brazil as the “main holdout.”

“Brazil is going to have to give in at some point because we are realistic and it is not in our nature to block things,” a Brazilian official told the agency. “But it won’t be good for us.” Brasilia advocates gradual growth to maintain regional balance and keep pre-eminent roles for the five current members, the sources explained.

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“Africa is preparing for war
After the coup d’état in Niger and the removal of the French puppet from the presidential position, the West African organization ECOWAS, which is under the full control of the United States and France, announced that it would attack Niger. Yesterday, Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea jointly declared that the attack on Niger is an attack on all of them and that they will intervene militarily. But the most interesting part is Algeria’s statement that it will also intervene militarily if Niger is attacked. Today the Chief of Staff of the Algerian Army arrived in Moscow for a meeting with Shoigu. Algeria is likely to receive heavy weapons from Russia and Iran through its ports. The USA and France have confirmed that they support military intervention by ECOWAS, de facto confirming that they are creating a new war in the world like in Syria and Ukraine. The same scheme worked for them when they destroyed Libya, but today Niger has powerful support..”

Niger Bans Uranium And Gold Exports To France (RT)

Niger’s military authorities, which seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum in a coup last week, banned uranium and gold exports to France on Sunday with “immediate effect,” multiple reports suggested on Monday. General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the newly formed transitional council, announced the decision, according to the Al Mayadeen news portal. Thousands of junta supporters applauded the move on Sunday during anti-French protests in the capital, Niamey, and burned French flags, local outlet Wazobia reported. “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, and oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe,” the portal quoted one of the protesters as saying. Niger is the world’s seventh-largest uranium producer, accounting for 5% of global output, according to the World Nuclear Association.

French media reports say the country accounts for 15%-17% of uranium used in France to generate electricity. Euratom – the European Atomic Energy Community – told Reuters on Tuesday that the West African country was the second-largest supplier of natural uranium to the EU bloc last year. According to the agency, there is no immediate threat to nuclear power production if Niger suspends supplies because utilities in the EU have enough uranium stocks to fuel nuclear power reactors for three years. Alexander Uvarov, editor of Russian nuclear news website Atominfo, told TASS that the immediate impact of Niger’s uranium export cut on the French nuclear power sector will be insignificant, but global uranium prices are likely to rise. The French state-owned company Orano, which operates a uranium mine in Niger, said on Tuesday that it is keeping an eye on the security situation in the former French colony.

“The group closely follows the instructions given by the French Embassy to give the opportunity to employees to leave Niger if they wish,” Orano stated. Earlier, the company stated that mining operations would continue despite ongoing “security events.” France announced on Tuesday that it would evacuate French and European citizens from Niamey, citing attacks on its embassy in the aftermath of the July 26 coup. The junta claimed that French security forces assaulted demonstrators who marched in support of the coup and protested against France’s presence in the country on Sunday. Six people were injured as a result of the French intervention, according to the coup leaders. The French foreign ministry has denied using lethal force against the protestors.

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“..pan-Africa should go all-out creating their own brands and value-added products, without waiting for “approval” from the West.”

First We Go for Moscow, Then We Take Beijing (Pepe Escobar)

The Global Majority is free to choose two different paths to counteract the rabid, cognitive dissonant Straussian neocon psychos in charge of imperial foreign policy; to relentlessly ridicule them, or to work hard on the long and winding road leading to a new multipolar reality. Reality struck deep at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg, with its astonishing breadth and scope, reflected in the official declaration and key facts such as Russia writing off no less than $23 billion in African debt, and President Putin calling for Africa to enter the G20 and the UNSC (“It’s time to correct this historical injustice.”) Three interventions in St. Petersburg summarize the pan-African drive to finally get rid of exploitative neocolonialism.

President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki: “They are printing money. They are not manufacturing anything at all, it’s printing money. This has been one of their weapons globally – the monetary system… sanctions here, sanctions there… We need a new financial architecture globally.” President of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traoré, the face of a resurgent Global South and the world’s youngest leader: “A slave that does not rebel does not deserve pity. The African Union (AU) must stop condemning Africans who decide to fight against their own puppet regimes of the West.”

President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni: “One facet of neo-colonialism and colonialism was Africa being confined to producing only raw materials, crops, like coffee, and minerals (…) This issue is the biggest factor why the African economies are stunted; they do not grow, because all the value is taken by other people (…) So, what I want to propose to Russia and China is to discourage as a policy the importing of raw materials from Africa, to instead work with the Africans to add value at source.” In a nutshell: pan-Africa should go all-out creating their own brands and value-added products, without waiting for “approval” from the West.

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Center for Countering Digital Hate

Twitter Sues Censorship Advocate (RT)

X Corp – the company formerly known as Twitter – filed a lawsuit against the UK-based nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) on Monday, accusing the NGO of seeking to stifle free expression and open discussion on X’s platform by scaring away advertisers. Describing the CCDH as an “activist organization masquerading as [a] research agenc[y], funded and supported by unknown organizations, individuals, and potentially even foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies,” the suit accuses the group of initiating a “scare campaign to drive away advertisers” – whose funding X requires to continue to operate its platform as a free service.

In a blog post accompanying the suit, X also accused the CCDH of “targeting people on all platforms who speak about issues the CCDH doesn’t agree with, attempting to coerce the deplatforming of users whose views do not conform to the CCDH’s ideological agenda, targeting free-speech organizations by focusing on their revenue stream to remove free services for people, [and] attempting to illegally gain unauthorized access to social media platform data and to misuse that data.”

The censorship advocate also “scraped” X’s platform, slurping up all available data – something X’s terms of service forbids – and illegally accessed X’s data via a borrowed login from advertising analytics platform Brandwatch, according to the suit. This data was then used “out of context” to claim a “surge in harmful content” had driven advertisers away from X, it states. The unnamed Brandwatch user who assisted the CCDH is among the 50 ‘John Doe’ defendants listed in the suit – co-conspirators X claims is working with CCDH to sabotage X, explaining their real names will be added as their true identities are discovered. X does not put a dollar value on the amount CCDH’s “research” has cost it, referring only to “at least tens of millions of dollars” and demanding that the censorship advocate cease using the stolen data.

CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed dismissed Musk’s claims, telling CNN the lawsuit “sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory to me” and accusing the billionaire of blaming Ahmed for “his own failings as a CEO.” The CCDH has repeatedly alleged that Musk has made X a haven for bigotry, most recently airing its claims in a July 19 Bloomberg article that asserted: “hate speech towards minority communities increased” under his leadership. The lawsuit came less than 24 hours after the CCDH published a letter from what was then known as Twitter, dated July 20, accusing the NGO of “regularly” making “inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about Twitter and its operations,” while positioning such assertions as scientifically-rigorous “research.” The CCDH countered that Twitter was trying to “silence honest criticism” via legal intimidation.

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Big part.

Russiagate To Blame For Ukraine Conflict – Trump (RT)

A probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election undermined relations with Moscow which ultimately led to the Ukraine conflict, former US president and current candidate Donald Trump said in an op-ed published on Monday. Writing for Newsweek, Trump slammed the congressional investigation into his campaign’s purported ties with Russia, claiming that the report by special counsel John Durham proved that “the Russia Hoax was the most atrocious weaponization” of the US government in history. The long-awaited document, which was released in May, found that the FBI should have never launched a probe into Trump’s ties with Russia as it was based on biased sources.

The ex-president insisted that “an unelected cabal” of senior US officials acting in concert with former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought to stop his election in 2016 and then undermine his term in office. According to Trump, their disruptive efforts came “at a critical moment when we should have been reducing tensions with Russia” but instead “the Russia Hoax stoked mass hysteria that helped drive Russia straight into the arms of China.” “Instead of having a better relationship with Russia as I worked to build, we now have a proxy war with Russia, fueled in part by the lingering fumes of Russiagate delirium. Ukraine has been utterly devastated. Untold numbers of people have been killed. And we could very well end up in World War III.”

US authorities accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election to hurt Clinton and to boost the Republican candidacy of Donald Trump, an allegation which has been vehemently denied by Moscow. Trump and his campaign were also investigated for potential collusion with Moscow, but US authorities failed to find evidence to bring any conspiracy or coordination charges.Meanwhile, Trump, who is running for re-election in 2024, has repeatedly said that he could end hostilities in Ukraine in 24 hours should he become president again. He has also criticized the way the administration of US President Joe Biden is handling the conflict, noting in May that Washington is “giving away so much equipment” to Kiev while it does not have enough munitions for itself.

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Sorry, I don’t see Hunter or Joe Soprano.

Jill Biden’s Ex-Husband Talks About “Very Dangerous Biden Crime Family” (ZH)

The ex-husband of First Lady Jill Biden has broken his silence to speak out against the “Biden crime family” for “targeting” he and Donald Trump. Bill Stevenson, who was married to Jill Biden between 1970 and 1975, told Newsmax last week that the president’s brother, Frankie Biden, tried to intimidate him during his divorce with Jill, and claimed the family threatened him with repercussions.”Frankie Biden of the Biden crime family comes up to me and he goes, “Give her the house or you’re going to have serious problems,”” Stevenson said. “I looked at Frankie and I said, “Are you threatening me?” and needless to say, about two months later, my brother and I were indicted for that tax charge for $8,200.”

When asked to clarify whether he thinks Joe Biden was behind the tax charge, Stevenson told host Greg Kelly: “I not only think it, but I know it,” adding that he “could not believe the power of Joe Biden and the Department of Justice. I couldn’t believe it.” Kelly also noted the parallels between Stevenson’s case and Hunter Biden’s ongoing tax troubles – noting that Hunter was hit with just two misdemeanor counts for $2.2 million in unpaid taxes, while Stevenson and his brother were slapped with two felonies for just over $8,000 in unpaid taxes. “It’s hard to believe what they’re doing to President Trump right now, and that’s why I came to you,” said Stevenson, 75. “He is doing the exact same thing.”


“I was on the wrong side of them, and they have literally come after me for 35 years in a row. One little thing after another,” he continued. “I can’t let them do this to a president that I love and respect. I can’t let them do this to our country.” “This is the only reason I’ve come forward. It’s like I said, nothing about the divorce, no bitterness, but Jimmy, Frankie, and President Biden are very dangerous, and it’s tragic. I can’t let them do what they did to me to President Trump. I can’t do it,” he added.

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FARA all the way. No way out. The foreign contacts want to see Hunter produce Joe. That’s all, the first time.

Devon Archer Reveals the ‘Niceties’ of Influence-Peddling (Turley)

There were niceties.” That description by Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) of calls between President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Hunter’s foreign business associates may, strangely, be the most accurate thing the freshman congressman has ever said. The almost-two-dozen calls — detailed by Hunter Biden’s close friend and former business partner, Devon Archer, during a closed-door interview Monday with House Oversight Committee investigators — were indeed “the niceties” of influence-peddling. The calls presumably were intended to show that Hunter Biden could deliver his father and to support what Archer called “the brand.” Hunter had no relevant experience or appreciable business skills, but he had the vice president of the United States on speed-dial.

The selection of Goldman as the only committee Democrat in the interview was ironic. Goldman was a Democratic staff attorney when the House impeached Donald Trump in 2019 largely on the basis of a single telephone call to the president of Ukraine. Now, however, Goldman is calling for an immediate cessation of any further investigation, in an almost comical display of denial and deflection. Goldman helped demolish Biden’s long-standing defense in another hearing just a week earlier. In an effort to defuse the testimony of two IRS whistleblowers, who said Hunter received special protection from their criminal investigation, Goldman tripped the wire and elicited testimony that Joe Biden may in fact have spoken with his son about foreign dealings — something the president has denied for years.

Goldman said that “Joe Biden came to say hello at the Four Seasons hotel to a lunch that he [Hunter Biden] was having” with Chinese energy company executives. He then read from the record how another Hunter associate, Rob Walker, described the origins of that meeting with the Chinese to get his father to stop by: “Hunter told his dad that ‘I may be trying to start a company or try to do something with these guys.’” As with the twenty-some phone calls, Goldman dismissed Joe Biden’s sudden appearance as a fatherly drive-by. On Monday, Goldman tried to dismiss a trusted Hunter Biden partner who was detailing how the then-vice president was critical to selling “the brand.”

The new spin was to admit that the senior Biden did speak with Hunter’s business associates but only to exchange “niceties” when he was put on speakerphone at meetings and dinners. Goldman noted that Archer testified the elder Biden did not discuss “any business dealings or transactions” and said it would be a “preposterous premise to think that a father should not say hello to people that the son is at dinner with.” What is truly preposterous is Goldman’s suggestion that these figures would have discussed corrupt deliverables on a speakerphone in restaurants. That was not the point of the calls. The point would have been that Hunter and his team were selling access, and the calls with his vice president/father confirmed that he was deliverable.

FARA

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Cord

 

 

Boiling
https://twitter.com/i/status/1686279698060632064

 

 

Flight of the red-billed blue magpie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1686317250012151809

 

 

Katykid
https://twitter.com/i/status/1686436506813026308

 

 


The white raven that was thought to be a legend but inhabits a coastal segment of British Columbia, Canada. These ravens are not albino, but leucistic, or lacking any of several different types of pigment (not simply melanin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 242023
 


Jackson Pollock Number 31 1949

 

Weird That NATO Failed to Foresee Botched Counteroffensive – Larry Johnson (Sp.)
West Knew Ukraine Wasn’t Ready For Counteroffensive – WSJ (RT)
West’s Hopes for Breakthrough in Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Dashed (Sp.)
Wagner Fighters Want To ‘Visit’ Poland – Lukashenko (RT)
Putin Cracks Down On ‘Angry Patriots’ In Wake Of Wagner Mutiny (ZH)
UK Media Now Admitting NATO’s Proxy War in Ukraine is a Disaster (21C)
Demining Ukraine Will Take 757 Years – WaPo (RT)
Putin Says Grain Deal Used to Enrich US, Europe, Lost Its Meaning (Sp.)
Russia Prevented From Giving Free Fertilizers To Poorest Nations – Putin (TASS)
More Than 40 Countries Willing To Join BRICS –Official (RT)
Hunter Phones A Friend (Miranda Devine)
Trump To Face Trial Before Election (RT)
Trump Calls Biden ‘Stupid’ For Revealing US Has Run Out of Ammo (Sp.)
Greece Heatwave Likely To Become Longest Country Has Ever Recorded (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putin Luka

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

Former Pentagon adviser Douglas McGregor:
NATO may not come out unscathed from this war in Ukraine, and I believe that there will be a change of governments in Europe and we will see the emergence of new leaders who will say: “Why are we going after these Americans?” If Russia was the aggressor against Ukraine, the situation would be different now, and we would see Russians on the borders of Poland after they destroyed Ukraine, but this did not happen, because the Russians do not want this.

Ukraine is to Russia what Mexico is to America. If there was an army in Mexico fully equipped to attack us, we would not hesitate to destroy it, which the Russians did. We lack diplomats and mature and moderate military leaders, and today we only have people whose ideology has blinded them to the truth, so it is difficult to do something good with us. The West wants to destroy Russia, plunder its resources.

 

 

 

 

“I wonder was everybody asleep over the last six-seven months?”

Weird That NATO Failed to Foresee Botched Counteroffensive – Larry Johnson (Sp.)

The US mainstream press laments the fact that Ukraine’s “small territorial gains come at an outsize cost,” citing multiple obstacles in the path of the Ukrainian campaign, including weary soldiers, shortage of ammo, and, above all, Russia’s fortifications and minefields. One US media outlet quoted a former US Special Forces engineer as saying that Russia’s minefields are unlike anything he has ever seen and that battling these traps is “exhausting.”
Appearing on a web podcast on July 22, Larry Johnson, a veteran of the CIA and former analyst at the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism, said he is perplexed that Russia’s fortification caught the West by surprise. “I wonder was everybody asleep over the last six-seven months?” Johnson asked.

When Russia pulled out Kherson and pulled out Kharkov the last fall, it then publicly embarked on a plan of building a defensive line along the southern front, he recalled. Obviously, the Russians planted mines in front of their fortifications, according to him. Per the CIA veteran, there is nothing new in Russia’s tactics and NATO has enough reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities to monitor and see how Russia created those minefields. It was predictable that the Ukrainian Armed Forces would be stalled and trapped early in the counteroffensive effort, according to Johnson. The former CIA analyst highlighted that he had earlier forecast that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would be doomed without aviation, self-propelled artillery, installations and air defense systems.

Ukraine’s long-delayed counteroffensive kicked off on June 4. For five weeks, the Ukrainian military has been firing a great deal of shells and missiles and sending sappers to demine the fields in order to make some progress on the ground. However, they cannot boast of any successes, generating concerns in the West that the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky “may not deliver as powerful a blow as it could,” according to the US media.

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But what’s 100,000 Ukrainian lives?

West Knew Ukraine Wasn’t Ready For Counteroffensive – WSJ (RT)

Western military officials knew earlier this year that Ukraine lacked the supplies and training to launch a successful counteroffensive against Russian forces, but allowed Kiev to launch its disastrous operation regardless, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Nearly two months after it began, Ukraine’s counteroffensive remains stalled. Advancing through Russian minefields without air support or adequate anti-air weapons, the Ukrainian military has lost 26,000 men and more than 3,000 pieces of hardware, according to the latest figures from Moscow. In return, Ukraine has captured only a handful of hamlets and villages, while failing to penetrate Russia’s multi-layered network of defensive trenches and emplacements.

The US and its allies knew that such an outcome was inevitable, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing leaked Pentagon documents, the newspaper claimed that US military analysts counted a “tiny number” of Ukrainian weapons capable of hitting Russian aircraft, and determined that Kiev would face an “inability to prevent Russian air superiority.” “America would never attempt to defeat a prepared defense without air superiority, but [the Ukrainians] don’t have air superiority,” John Nagl, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel, told the paper. “It’s impossible to overstate how important air superiority is for fighting a ground fight at a reasonable cost in casualties.”

In public, American officials told a different story. “We believe that the Ukrainians will meet with success in this counteroffensive,” White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN on the eve of the operation. Several months earlier, Dan Rice, an Iraq War veteran who now serves as an adviser to the Ukrainian armed forces, declared that the counteroffensive would “shock the world” with its success. European leaders were similarly optimistic. Polish President Andrzej Duda, who has been one of Kiev’s most fervent backers, announced in early June that the operation would lead to “the ousting of Russian military forces from all occupied territories.”

Western officials have since downgraded their expectations, and are privately “alarmed” at the lack of results on the battlefield, according to recent media reports. Western governments are therefore at a crossroads, and will soon need to decide whether to commit the massive amounts of arms, equipment, and money necessary to support Kiev in a longer conflict, the Wall Street Journal explained, citing anonymous diplomats. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Ukraine’s counteroffensive as “suicidal.” In a public address on Friday, he pointed out that despite the “colossal amounts of resources,” and “thousands of foreign mercenaries and advisers” that Kiev has received from the West, its counteroffensive has still resulted in failure.

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“..And we are confident that the Ukrainians have what they need..”

West’s Hopes for Breakthrough in Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Dashed (Sp.)

Western countries knew that Ukraine did not have enough weapons and training for the counteroffensive, but hoped that Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would save the day; however, these hopes have been dashed, the US press admits. Russia’s resistance, airpower, and extensive fortifications blocked the Kiev regime’s advance and eventually led to Ukraine’s counteroffensive stalling. There is a risk of Ukrainian lives and equipment being lost without any shift in momentum, as per a US mainstream media outlet. The media outlet noted that as the likelihood of any large-scale breakthrough by the Ukrainian forces this year fades, it raises the “unsettling prospect” for Washington and its NATO allies of a “longer war” which would require more armaments and even more training.

Under these circumstances, the political calculus for the Biden administration appears especially complicated given the forthcoming election in November 2024. While the EU is continuing to help Ukraine, European leaders are unlikely to make a significant increase in aid to Ukraine if they feel a lack of enthusiasm from the United States, the newspaper noted. At the end of June, the Pentagon stated that they initially understood that the counteroffensive would be tough and entail casualties among their ranks. Still, US war planners claimed the Kiev regime was well-equipped. “Our assessments have been pretty clear from the beginning. We know this is going to be a hard fight. We know this is going to take time. And we are confident that the Ukrainians have what they need,” claimed Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh on June 21.

“We have accounted for losses. We know there are going to be losses on the battlefield. That’s the unfortunate part of this war,” she added. However, it appears that Washington did not expect that the losses would be so heavy. The long-advertised Ukrainian counteroffensive in the South Donetsk, Artemovsk (Bakhmut), and Zaporozhye directions started on June 4 after months of delays. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky complained in an interview with the Western press earlier this month that the effort couldn’t start earlier due to a lack of weaponry. Kiev deployed NATO-trained brigades armed with Western equipment, including the much-touted Leopard tanks. Shortly after, images of burned and damaged NATO-grade weaponry started to pop up in the media and social networks.

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Maybe not…

Wagner Fighters Want To ‘Visit’ Poland – Lukashenko (RT)

Fighters from the private military company (PMC) Wagner want to “visit” Poland, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin on Sunday. According to Lukashenko, the PMC’S members want to reach the Polish capital Warsaw and the city of eastern city of Rzeszow, which they believe was a hub for providing Ukrainian troops with military hardware during the fighting for the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut). After the failed mutiny attempt in June, Wagner members were offered the opportunity to retire, sign contracts with the Russian military, or relocate to Belarus together with the group’s chief, Evgeny Prigozhin.

According to Lukashenko, the fighters hosted in the country are starting to “concern” local authorities, as they want to “go on tour to Poland” to visit Warsaw and Rzeszow, which they believe was a hub for providing Ukrainian troops with military hardware during the fighting for the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut). “They know where the military hardware [to support Ukrainian troops] came from during the fighting in Artyomovsk,” the Belarusian president explained on Sunday during his meeting with Putin. “So they have this internal feeling that Rzeszow is trouble.”

He also noted that the Wagner members know “what’s going on around the Union State [of Russia and Belarus],” so he wouldn’t like to have them relocated somewhere away from the center of the country, particularly given that they are in what he characterized as a “bad mood.” On Friday, Putin claimed that Polish leaders are planning to form a NATO-backed coalition to intervene in the Ukraine conflict and take over parts of western Ukraine. Belarusian territory might also be endangered, he added, promising retaliation in case of any aggression against the Union State member.

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Not mentioned: Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, aka Igor Ivanovich Strelkov, is also one of the main suspects in the MH17 downing.

Putin Cracks Down On ‘Angry Patriots’ In Wake Of Wagner Mutiny (ZH)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued cleaning house in the wake of last month’s Wagner mutiny and short-lived uprising. In a bold move, he and his defense ministry are cracking down even on pro-Kremlin ‘patriots’—but who have publicly criticized top decision-making and how Moscow has handled the Ukraine war effort. On Friday a prominent blogger who has taken a critical stance on war strategy and Putin himself was arrested. Igor Girkin is a longtime proponent of the invasion of Ukraine, and is an ex-security official who led Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region in 2014. He also helped Crimea enter under the Russian Federation that same year.

Shortly after last year’s start of the February invasion, he co-founded an ultra-nationalist political group called the Angry Patriots Club, and is a popular pro-war blogger. These are hardliners who tend to think the Kremlin has been too restrained in Ukraine. In the wake of the June 22-23 Wagner mutiny, he suggested Putin is “not ready” for difficult decision-making under war-time conditions. And this week, he went so far as to call Putin a “low life”. According to a CNN translation of some key quotes he’s posted publicly: The day after Wagner’s brief insurrection ended, on June 25, he said that if Putin “is not ready to take the leadership over the creation of war-ready conditions” in Russia, “then he really needs to transfer the powers, but legally, to someone who is capable of such hard work.”

But the final straw for Putin may have come on Tuesday, when Girkin called the president a “lowlife” and a “cowardly bum” in a blistering post on his Telegram channel. “For 23 years, the country was led by a lowlife who managed to ‘blow dust in the eyes’ of a significant part of the population. Now he is the last island of legitimacy and stability of the state,” the post read. “But the country will not be able to withstand another six years of this cowardly bum in power.” Girkin’s lawyer confirmed Friday that following his arrest a Moscow court has given him pretrial detention until at least Sept.18. The charge against him is “extremism”. Below is analysis via regional observer Tatiana Stanovaya, who points out that “This is a direct outcome of Prigozhin’s mutiny: the army’s command now wields greater political leverage to quash its opponents.”…

“This is a moment many within the siloviki have eagerly awaited. Strelkov had overstepped all conceivable boundaries a long time ago, sparking the desire among security forces — from the FSB to military chiefs — to apprehend him. The complaint came from a former commander of the Wagner Group. At this point, the source of the accusation is inconsequential — it does not come from Wagner in its current, let’s put it softly, difficult state.” “Strelkov’s arrest undeniably serves the interests of the Ministry of Defense. This is a direct outcome of Prigozhin’s mutiny: the army’s command now wields greater political leverage to quash its opponents in the public sphere. It’s unlikely that there will be massive repressions against ‘angry patriots,’ but the most vehement dissenters may face prosecution, serving as a cautionary tale for others.”

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Just stop it.

UK Media Now Admitting NATO’s Proxy War in Ukraine is a Disaster (21C)

After 18 months, it looks like the propaganda dam that’s been holding up the official NATO narrative on Ukraine – has finally begun to crack in the UK mainstream media. It seems that the bevy of journalists and military pundits who’ve been insisting for the last 18 months that “Ukraine is winning”, have finally convened and appear to have collectively decided that maybe it’s high time to begin facing reality and accept that the Ukrainian army’s much-vaunted ‘counter offensive’ came and went with no success. Truth be known: there was never any actual counter offensive, rather, it was strictly a media-driven mirage, specifically designed to help keep the money and weapons flowing into an increasingly disastrous proxy war ahead of this month’s lack-luster NATO Summit in Vilnius.

The legacy media’s belated acknowledgment of this epic failure is a symptom of their own chronic and misguided approach to the war from day one, which can only be described as a deluded, albeit shameless lockstep propaganda campaign that would make even Stalin’s information minister wince. Interestingly, throughout the conflict, The Telegraph has been one of the main pro-war propaganda echo chambers on social media, regularly host hosting Twitter Spaces frequented by NAFO “fellas” (NATO’s 100K strong online trolling army), with various ‘experts’ regularly coming on making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims about Russian military maneuvers manuevers and alleged war crimes. The MSM are now playing catch-up to reality… Robert Clark from the UK Telegraph writes in his recent piece, “Ukraine and the West are facing a devastating defeat”…

Since Putin’s tanks crossed into Ukrainian territory last year, three options have been on the table for how this war would end: victory for one side or the other, a frozen conflict or a negotiated settlement. The public comments made this week by Oleksiy Arestovych, a former advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, appear to indicate the last may be more likely than previously thought. Arestovych raised the prospect of Ukraine making territorial concessions in return for the rest of the country receiving the most cast-iron security guarantee there is: Nato membership. These comments have proved highly controversial. Not only would such an outcome be unpalatable to many in Kyiv and other European capitals, raising it as a possibility highlights a growing uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of the war – particularly amongst Ukraine’s western backers.

Arestovych’s suggestion comes at a crucial time. The long-planned counter-offensive, now in its second month, has run into several problems – not least that Kyiv is still waiting for approximately half of the western military equipment promised earlier in the year. Meanwhile, its forces are under increasing pressure to commit its reserves as Russian troops – despite reports of low morale across the front – remain dug-in, seemingly committed to defending every inch of Ukrainian ground captured since last year. As Russian minefields take their toll on western-supplied tanks and Ukrainian sappers, their forces have so-far retaken approximately five miles of the sixty miles they need to split the land-bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. The land between Mariupol in the east and Melitopol to the west is seen as the vital ground to achieving this.

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“The sheer quantity of ordnance in Ukraine is just unprecedented in the last 30 years. There’s nothing like it..”

Demining Ukraine Will Take 757 Years – WaPo (RT)

The conflict with Russia has turned Ukraine into the “most mined country” in the world, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing data from the nation’s government and several non-governmental humanitarian mine clearance groups. Almost one-third of Ukraine’s territory has been affected by heavy fighting and will likely require intense demining operations, the media outlet said, adding that over 67,000 square miles (173,529 square kilometers) have been contaminated with unexploded ordnance, according to Slovakia-based think tank GLOBSEC. That’s more than the size of Florida and roughly equivalent to Uruguay. “The sheer quantity of ordnance in Ukraine is just unprecedented in the last 30 years. There’s nothing like it,” Greg Crowther, the director of programs at British NGO Mines Advisory Group, told the Washington Post.

According to UN data, almost 300 civilians, including 22 children, died in Ukraine in incidents linked to unexploded ordnance between February 2022 and July 2023, the Post reported. Mines and other unexploded munitions also resulted in 632 civilian injuries over the same period, it added. Both sides of the conflict actively use mines in their operations, the media outlet noted. The US also contributed to the mining of Ukrainian territory by supplying Kiev with 155-millimeter artillery rounds that create temporary minefields, although their submunitions are technically supposed to self-destruct, the Washington Post reported. Another US-made ordnance that was sent into Ukraine was the M21 anti-tank mine, which does not self-destruct, it added.

Washington’s decision to provide Kiev with US-made “cluster munitions, which are known to scatter duds that fail to explode, can only add to the danger,” the media outlet said. According to some estimates, it could take 757 years to clear all of the unexploded ordnance scattered around the country, even if 500 demining teams were tasked with the mission, the Washington Post reported. World Bank estimates show that the cost of these operations could reach $37.4 billion in just the next ten years, it added. Washington has so far committed just around $95 million to demining operations in Ukraine, according to a 2023 State Department report.

On Friday, UN Under Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo warned the UN Security Council that huge swathes of Ukrainian territory have been covered in mines and cluster bombs that will “continue to pose danger to civilians for years to come.” Earlier this week, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, blasted Washington for turning Ukraine into a “burial ground” for lethal waste.

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“..there is no longer any use in continuing the ‘grain deal’ as it has failed to serve its original humanitarian purpose.”

Putin Says Grain Deal Used to Enrich US, Europe, Lost Its Meaning (Sp.)

The grain deal did not justify its humanitarian purpose and was used only to enrich the United States and Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in an article titled “Russia and Africa: Joining Efforts for Peace, Progress and a Successful Future” published by the Kremlin on Monday. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, commonly known as the grain deal, which provided for a humanitarian corridor to allow exports of Ukrainian grain over the past year, expired on July 18, as Russia did not extend its participation. Moscow has been repeatedly critical of the fact that the deal’s provisions pertaining to Russia had not been fulfilled.

“Many have probably heard of the so-called ‘grain deal,’ whose initial purpose was to ensure global food security, reduce the threat of hunger and help the poorest countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America – the reason why Russia undertook the obligation to facilitate its implementation in the first place. This ‘deal,’ however, while it was publicly advertised by the West as a gesture of goodwill that benefited Africa, has in fact been shamelessly used solely for the enrichment of large US and European businesses that exported and resold grain from Ukraine,” Putin said. The Russian president emphasized that, in almost a year, a total of 32.8 million tonnes (metric tons) of supplies were exported from Ukraine under the grain deal, with over 70% of the exports ending up in high- and upper-middle-income countries, while countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, as well as Yemen and Afghanistan, received less than 3% of the supplies.

“In the meantime, none of the ‘deal’ provisions relating to the exemption from sanctions of Russian grain and fertiliser exports to world markets, were fulfilled,” Putin wrote. The Russian president stressed that barriers have been mounted to Russia’s attempts to supply free of charge mineral fertilizers to the poorest countries in need. “Of 262,000 tonnes of goods blocked in European ports, only two shipments were delivered – one of 20,000 tonnes to Malawi and one of 34,000 tonnes to Kenya. The rest is still unscrupulously held by the Europeans. And this is a purely humanitarian initiative we are talking about, which should be exempt from any sanctions as such,” Putin said, adding that, considering all these facts, “there is no longer any use in continuing the ‘grain deal’ as it has failed to serve its original humanitarian purpose.”

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“is a purely humanitarian initiative we are talking about, which should be exempt from any sanctions as such.”

Russia Prevented From Giving Free Fertilizers To Poorest Nations – Putin (TASS)

While Russia has been sending fertilizers to the world’s poorest countries free of charge, the West has been mounting barriers by blocking a substantial portion of supplies and holding it `unscrupulously’, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in his article for the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit to be held in St. Petersburg later this week. “Barriers have been mounted even to our attempts to supply free of charge mineral fertilizers to the poorest countries in need. Of 262,000 metric tons of goods blocked in European ports, only two shipments were delivered – one of 20,000 metric tons to Malawi and the other of 34,000 metric tons to Kenya. The rest is still being unscrupulously held by the Europeans,” Putin lamented.


And this, the Russian leader said, “is a purely humanitarian initiative we are talking about, which should be exempt from any sanctions as such.” The second Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum is slated for July 27-28 in St. Petersburg. The first such event was held in Sochi on October 22-24, 2019 under the slogan “For peace, security and development.”.

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“22 countries have formally applied to join the group..”

More Than 40 Countries Willing To Join BRICS –Official (RT)

More than 40 countries have shown an interest in joining BRICS, Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador-at-large responsible for ties with the economic alliance and Asian countries, has said. The diplomat told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday that 22 countries have formally applied to join the group, while “an equal number” of states “have been informally asking about becoming BRICS members.”= Speaking with RT on Sunday, Sooklal described BRICS as an “inclusive” organization that has always been open to dialogue with the larger global community. The group currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and accounts for over 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP.

Sooklal said that BRICS does not distinguish between the Global North and Global South and is ready to talk to any country that “has the same vision for a more inclusive and equitable global order where we do not marginalize large parts of the world,” including many developing nations. The diplomat went on to point out that while the United Nations has yet to embark on comprehensive reforms that would give emerging countries a greater voice, BRICS has charted its own path to remedy the situation. However, he stressed that the bloc “does not seek to become a dominant economic force,” but rather wants to have “a major influence in an inclusive manner to work for change.”

“We don’t want a world where we have one or two global hegemons,” he added, explaining that such a distribution of power sows division in the global community. Sooklal had earlier said in comments to journalists that Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were among those countries looking to join the bloc. South Africa will host the BRICS annual summit this year, which will take place in Johannesburg from August 22-24, with President Cyril Ramaphosa having sent invitations to nearly 70 global leaders.

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Never talked to Hunter about his business…

Hunter Phones A Friend (Miranda Devine)

Hunter Biden would dial in his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, on speakerphone into meetings with his overseas business partners, according to testimony expected before Congress this week from Devon Archer, the first son’s former best friend. Archer, 48, who is facing jail for his role in a $60 million bond fraud, is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight Committee about meetings he witnessed that were attended by Joe Biden either in person or via speakerphone when Hunter would call his father and introduce him to foreign business partners or prospective investors. “We are looking forward very much to hearing from Devon Archer about all the times he has witnessed Joe Biden meeting with Hunter Biden’s overseas business partners when he was vice president, including on speakerphone,” says Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the committee chairman.

One such meeting was in Dubai late in the evening of Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, after a board meeting of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which was paying Hunter $83,000 a month as a director. Archer, who also was a director, is expected to testify that, after dinner with the Burisma board at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, he and Hunter traveled six miles north to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach to have a drink with one of Hunter’s friends. While they were sitting outside at the bar, Vadym Pozharskyi, a senior Burisma executive, phoned to ask where they were because Burisma’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky needed to speak to Hunter urgently. Soon afterward, the two Ukrainians joined Hunter and Archer at the Four Seasons bar and Pozharskyi asked Hunter: “Can you ring your dad?” At the time it was early afternoon, Friday, in Washington, DC.

Hunter then called his father, put him on speaker, placed the phone on the table, and introduced the Ukrainians to Joe Biden by name as “Nikolai and Vadym.” He also said words to the effect that the Burisma bigwigs “need our support.” VP Biden greeted the Ukrainians but spoke only in vague pleasantries during the short call, and in other such interactions with Hunter’s overseas business partners, Archer is expected to testify. Congressional investigators are expected to probe the reasons for Zlochevsky requesting the urgent phone call with Joe Biden. They will note the context, that three days after the speakerphone call, the then-vice president, who was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine, was due to fly to Kyiv to address the Ukrainian parliament, known as the “Rada,” on Dec. 9, 2015, about the “poison of cronyism, corruption, and kleptocracy.”

Ten weeks before the call, on Sept. 24, 2015, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt had given a speech about corruption in Odessa, in which he targeted Zlochevsky by name. By then, Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma for corruption and, within two months, on Feb. 2, 2016, would seize four houses in Kyiv, two plots of land and a Rolls Royce belonging to Zlochevsky, who was living in exile in Dubai. A month later, Shokin was fired, after Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid to Ukraine.

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Not Biden but Trump faces trial.

Trump To Face Trial Before Election (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump is to stand trial on charges of mishandling classified documents in May 2024, a court order issued on Friday suggested. The date pushes the court hearings deep into the 2024 US presidential race. US District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the trial to start on May 24. A pretrial hearing in Trump’s case is to be held on May 14. The dates place the hearings after most state primaries that are scheduled to be finished by mid-May, the US media report. Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia are expected to hold their primary votes right on May 14, according to CNN. Oregon is to do it a week later and a few states, including New Jersey will vote on June 4, the network added.

According to AP, the Republican presidential nominee might be already clear by the time Trump is to arrive before the court, even though the official nomination would only take place at the Republican National Convention in July 2024. Two weeks ago, Trump’s lawyers demanded his trial be delayed until after the 2024 presidential election. The prosecutors also requested a four-month postponement and called on the trial to be moved to December 2023. Cannon ruled on Friday that “the Government’s proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial,” adding that the amount of evidence that needs to be examined in this case is “voluminous and likely to increase in the normal course as trial approaches.”

“The Court finds that the interests of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and Defendants in a speedy trial,” she added. Trump’s campaign already hailed the decision as a “major setback to the DOJ’s crusade to deny President Trump a fair legal process.” The “extensive schedule” would allow Trump and his legal team to “continue fighting this empty hoax,” it added. Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 37 felony counts regarding his alleged mishandling of classified documents following his departure from the White House.

The 300-plus documents were recovered by the FBI, including during a controversial raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last August. They reportedly included classified national security material related to nuclear secrets and the country’s defense capabilities. Trump repeatedly argued he had “every right” to keep the documents in question. He also told Fox News earlier that he had no time to return them when asked by the federal officials. The indictment saw Trump’s polling lead double over his closest rival for the Republican 2024 nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The former US president was also polling ahead of the incumbent one, Joe Biden.

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“Look at all the money we’re giving to Ukraine and yet Ukraine was paying the Biden family a fortune..”

Trump Calls Biden ‘Stupid’ For Revealing US Has Run Out of Ammo (Sp.)

President Biden revealed earlier this month that the Ukrainian army was “running out” of 155mm artillery ammunition and that the US was “low on it,” and that this played a role in his controversial decision to send cluster munition to Ukraine. Biden’s talking points were echoed by Pentagon and White House officials. Former President Donald Trump has lashed out at Joe Biden for revealing that the United States is running low on ammunition amid its failing proxy-war with Russia in Ukraine. “We have a man that doesn’t understand what he’s doing. We have a man that yesterday stood up and told the whole world that we have no ammunition. You know I had every ammunition building full to the brim three years ago. We’ve given it all away. But if you gave it all away…the only thing worse than that is to tell the world that we have no [ammunition]. He has told China and these other places that are hostile that we have no ammunition,” Trump said in a TV interview Sunday.

“By the way you talk about classified documents – that’s worse than any document that you could give. So now these people are sitting back, in China and other places that hate us including North Korea where I had a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un and kept our country safe – they’re talking about the United States of America has no ammunition, think of it. How stupid can somebody be to say that?” Trump asked. Trump, who is currently leading in polling for the Republican nomination in 2024, and is five points ahead of Biden in polling for the general election, accused the sitting president of corruption in Ukraine. “Look at all the money we’re giving to Ukraine and yet Ukraine was paying the Biden family a fortune,” Trump said, presumably referring to reports that Biden and his son Hunter allegedly received millions of dollars from a Ukrainian businessman while Joe Biden was serving as Barack Obama’s vice president in an alleged pay-to-play corruption scheme.

Asked if he would cut off funding to Ukraine, Trump answered “I’d get the war settled. The money is – number one I’d tell Europe ‘you’re about $100 billion+ short. You gotta pay.’ Because Europe is smiling all the way to the bank…Europe is doing very little compared to the United States and it affects them more. No matter how you look at it, they’re right there, we’re an ocean apart. Why are we at $150 billion and they’re at $20 [billion]? You know their economy is almost exactly our size if you add it all up…They should be at the same number that we’re at if not more.” Trump also repeated his earlier warnings about the dangers of the current Russia-NATO proxy conflict in Ukraine owing to the existence of nuclear weapons.

“This is the most dangerous time in the history of our country because of weaponry. The nuclear power is so enormous – this isn’t two army tanks going and shooting each other in World War I, World War II, or soldiers standing behind a bunker and shooting people,” Trump said.

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Local news :-). Makes the work on TAE a challenge.

Greece Heatwave Likely To Become Longest Country Has Ever Recorded (RT)

A heat wave baking Greece is likely to become the longest the country has ever recorded, experts say, as the country battles wildfires and restricts access to its popular tourist sites, Report informs via CNN. Visiting hours for the Acropolis and other archaeological sites have been revised with temperatures soaring. Staff at some sites are on strike to protests working conditions. “We will probably go through 15 to 16 days of a heat wave, which has never happened before in our country,” the Director of Research at the National Observatory of Athens Kostas Lagouvardos told CNN.


He told CNN that the streak could go beyond those days, but at the moment “it’s hard to predict.” The longest continuous heatwave that Greece has faced was 12 days long, back in July 1987, Lagouvardos said. Lagouvardos said temperatures in Athens this summer could possibly break the city’s all-time record, which was set in June 2007, when Athens registered 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.64 degrees Fahrenheit). The authorities have been battling wildfires in several areas, including the island of Rhodes where Reuters said hundreds have been forced to evacuate.

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Mother dog

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 172023
 


Andy Warhol Reigning Queens 1985

 

NATO Plan to Bulk Up Presence on Eastern Flank Faces ‘Serious Problems’ (Sp.)
US, NATO Weapons Stockpiles at ‘Dangerously Low’ Levels: Top General (ET)
‘They’re Running Out of Ammo’: Putin on US Sending Cluster Bombs to Kiev (Sp.)
The Incredible Shrinking NATO (Dmitry Orlov)
Ukraine Behind New Crimean Bridge Attack – Media (RT)
Real War To Defeat, Fake Propaganda To Victory – Nato Is In Two Minds (Helmer)
The Wagner Mutiny (Jacques Baud)
Cracks in NATO’s Ukraine Project (Hahn)
Failed Proxy War With Russia Shows US Can’t ‘Pick on Someone Its Own Size’ (Sp.)
Why Dennis Kucinich Should Now Threaten His Candidate RFK Jr. (Zuesse)
Hunter Biden Threatens Trump With ‘Legal Trouble’ (RT)
Almost Half of Millennials Want Jail Time for “Misgendering” (Turley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden at 29

 

 

 

 

Kerry
https://twitter.com/i/status/1680479725624369153

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until now, we were pointing out that Ukraine was running out of troops, weapons and ammo. Now, it’s all of NATO. 3 articles.

“These are numbers that, unless they announce an all-out mobilization, cannot be provided.”

NATO Plan to Bulk Up Presence on Eastern Flank Faces ‘Serious Problems’ (Sp.)

NATO’s plan to beef up its military presence in Eastern Europe will face “serious” problems because almost no country can muster troops in significant numbers, with Spain no exception, military analyst Juan A. Aguilar told Sputnik. Spain would be able to send only a meagre number of soldiers to reinforce the NATO flank in Slovakia and Romania, he added. In fact, the media impact of the announcement recently made by the country’s President is far greater than the actual size of the forces to be sent on the ground, remarked the director of the strategic research portal Geoestrategia.es. Pedro Sanchez had revealed during the recent NATO summit in Vilnius that Spain will deploy 700 troops in Slovakia and reinforce its presence in Romania by 250 military personnel.

“As a committed member, Spain is going to announce the deployment of Spanish forces in Slovakia to reinforce the eastern front and we are going to reinforce our presence in Romania with a greater number of troops,” Sanchez said, adding that his country would “continue to contribute to the alliance’s effort to achieve the just and lasting peace.” Although the details have not yet been officially specified, Juan A. Aguilar weighed in on the announcement, saying: “I don’t think that more than 300 soldiers can be deployed in three annual rotations, about 1,000 in total, a battalion… There are no more, unless they withdraw from other areas,” said the military analyst. He recalled that although Spain has on paper “some 150,000 troops”, far from all of them are available to be posted to Eastern Europe.

“Out of the 150,000 we have to subtract those integrated into Common Corps, Headquarters, Logistics, the Navy and the Air Force… Then, those of the special units (NBC, UME, Anti-aircraft) and, of course, the garrison troops deployed in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla”, Aguilar explained. “What’s left?” queried the military analyst, and speculated: “Three light brigades and three armored-mechanized brigades, not at full strength, numbering about 18,000 soldiers. You have to leave a garrison for the country’s capital… There are troops deployed in Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Turkey, the Baltic countries… And there are at least three rotations a year”.

NATO has been bulking up its military footprint along the alliance’s eastern flank, in countries that share a land border with Ukraine, where Russia is conducting its special military operation. NATO’s multinational battlegroups are currently stationed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. US President Joe Biden on Thursday approved an executive order authorizing 3,000 US military reserve personnel to augment Operation Atlantic Resolve, which provides rotational deployment of combat-credible forces to Europe as part of the United States’ commitment to NATO. Following decisions made at the NATO summit in Vilnius, allies that have been sending tens of billions of dollars in weapons to the regime in Kiev vowed to maintain up to 300,000 troops in a “state of high readiness”, as part of the NATO Response Force.

However, this comes as many of the afore-mentioned bloc members are worried about their own insufficient ammunition stocks, drained by the US-spearheaded Western proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Major European NATO powers like Germany, Italy and the UK have all conceded that after splurging on Ukraine, their own military had been “hollowed out” by arms shipments. Moscow has warned repeatedly about the consequences of these actions for regional and global security, only serving to fan the flames of the Ukraine conflagration. As for military manpower along the eastern NATO flank, Juan A. Aguilar told Sputnik: “NATO wants to deploy 300,000 men in Eastern Europe. The US would put up 100,000, but the rest of the countries have to provide a total of 200,000. If they make four rotations a year, 800,000 troops are needed. These are numbers that, unless they announce an all-out mobilization, cannot be provided.

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“So we don’t have nearly what we had at the heart of the Cold War..”

US, NATO Weapons Stockpiles at ‘Dangerously Low’ Levels: Top General (ET)

The weapons stockpiles of the United States and its NATO allies are becoming “dangerously low,” with no “short-term” solutions, according to a top U.S. Air Force commander. Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, made the remarks at the Chief of the Air Staff’s Global Air & Space Chiefs’ Conference in London, Breaking Defense reported. The air force general urged NATO allies to think seriously about their stockpiles. “I think it’s very important that we kind of take stock of where we are in our weapons state across the 32 nations of NATO, and we’re getting way down compared to where we were,” Gen. Hecker said, while speaking on a panel with the air chiefs of the UK and Sweden at the conference, the outlet reported.

“And it’s probably not going to get better—well, it’s not in the short term—but we’ve got to make sure in the long term we have the industrial base that can increase what we have,” he said at the July 12–13 event, urging all NATO nations to start making deeper investments. The United States is at “roughly half the number of fighter squadrons” it had compared to when it engaged in Operation Desert Storm, a U.S.-led operation that started in January 1991 as part of a response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, according to the general. He noted that there has been a similar decrease in fighter squadrons for the UK. “So we don’t have nearly what we had at the heart of the Cold War,” he said.

“Now you add that we’re giving a lot of munitions away to the Ukrainians, which I think is exactly what we need to do, but now we’re getting dangerously low and sometimes, in some cases. even too low, that we don’t have enough,” Gen. Hecker said. “And we need to get industry on board to help us out so we can get this going.” The United States has provided Ukraine with more than $41.3 billion in security assistance as of July 7, since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, according to the U.S. State Department. That total encompasses more than $15 billion in weapons and equipment delivered to Ukraine from U.S. military stocks since the Russian invasion.

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“Until now, we have not used them… we did not need to, despite also previously experiencing a shortage of ammunition..”

‘They’re Running Out of Ammo’: Putin on US Sending Cluster Bombs to Kiev (Sp.)

The Biden administration unveiled a new military assistance package for Ukraine on July 7, which included cluster bombs. The lethal weapons are banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which has been ratified by 123 countries, excluding the US and Ukraine, and several other nations. The US decided to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine because the Western-fueled proxy war against Russia is running low on ammo, President Vladimir Putin told local media. “They [the United States] are doing this not because of ‘the good life’, but because they are running low on ammunition in general,” the head of state said, answering a question from a Russian journalist. The Russian leader recalled that Washington previously referred to the use of cluster bombs as a “crime.”

“As for cluster munitions, the US administration itself provided an assessment of these munitions with comments by its staff some time ago, when the use of cluster munitions was called a crime by the US administration itself. This is how I think it should be regarded,” he said. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly in case of cluster munitions use against the country, emphasized the Russian president. “Of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions,” Putin said in the interview for Russian television. He underscored that Russia, which has various kinds of cluster munitions, has not yet needed to resort to using the lethal weapons. “Russia has in its possession a sufficient stockpile of various types of cluster munitions. Until now, we have not used them… we did not need to, despite also previously experiencing a shortage of ammunition,” Putin noted.

The US-pledged cluster munitions have already been delivered to the Kiev regime, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday. Lt Gen Douglas Sims, Joint Staff J3 director of operations, said that the bombs “have indeed been delivered to Ukraine at this point.” The Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to the Russian military, have previously resorted to the use of the controversial cluster munitions for shelling Donbass, in particular Donetsk. According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, this indicates that the goal of the Ukrainian military is to kill a maximum number of civilians. Cluster bombs are extremely deadly containing dozens or hundreds of explosive submunitions, or bomblets, and are designed to maximize damage to enemy forces across an area of up to several hundred square meters.

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“The sight of Western armor ablaze does not make good advertising. Consequently, the US defense contractors must be very eager to stop this steady stream of negative advertising for their products to stop right this second..”

The Incredible Shrinking NATO (Dmitry Orlov)

NATO is a captive buyers’ club for US-made weapons. That is what vaunted NATO standards, with which the Ukraine must comply before it is deemed worthy to be invited to join NATO, are all about: to comply with these standards, your weapons have to be mostly US-made. That is also the reason for all of the various wars of choice, from Serbia to Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya and Syria: these were demonstration projects for US weapons, with the additional goal of using up the weapons and the munitions so that the Pentagon and the rest of NATO would have to reorder them. The geopolitical rationales for these military conflicts are mere rationalizations. For instance, between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped more than 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos during 580,000 bombing sorties—equal to a planeload of bombs every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.

What was the geopolitical rationale? Nobody can even remember if there ever was one. But those bombs were about to expire and needed to be used up and reordered to keep the money flowing. In response to such strange inducements, US-made weapons tend to be overly complex (so that their makers can charge more for the useless extra features) and rather fragile (never tested against a peer adversary like Russia or China, or even against Iran), developed slowly (to clean up on R&D funding), built slowly (because what’s the rush?) and very high-maintenance (so that US defense contractors can get even richer delivering spare parts and service). These weapons were supposed to be tested every so gently by giving hell to backward tribesmen armed with old Kalashnikovs and RPGs.

Ukraine is a different story altogether. There, the Ukrainians, with their mismatched hand-me-down Western armor, are being asked to penetrate three lines of hardened Russian defenses. After about a month of effort and staggering losses of men and equipment, they haven’t yet been able to reach the first defensive line. The sight of Western armor ablaze does not make good advertising. Consequently, the US defense contractors must be very eager to stop this steady stream of negative advertising for their products to stop right this second — before their reputations end up completely ruined; hence the unseemly haste with which the entire Ukrainian project is being orphaned.

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Russia is angry now.

Ukraine Behind New Crimean Bridge Attack – Media (RT)

The Crimean Bridge was damaged in a joint “special operation”conducted by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) and naval forces, media outlets reported on Monday. The Russian authorities have yet to announce the reason behind the incident. According to a source for RBK Ukraina, the key infrastructure linking the peninsula with mainland Russia was attacked by an unspecified number of sea surface drones. “It was difficult to reach the bridge, but finally the task was accomplished,” he said. Ukrainian officials have cheered the incident but have yet to confirm their direct involvement in the reported attack.

Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, described the Crimean Bridge as a “redundant construction,” but refused to elaborate. Traffic on the bridge was stopped in the early hours of Monday, with Crimean Governor Sergey Aksyonov citing an unspecified “emergency.” Later, Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that a married couple from his region was killed in the incident and their daughter was injured. Russia’s Ministry of Transport said the road surface of one of the tracks was damaged, while the bridge’s supports remain intact.


Ukraine has attempted to target the strategic link in the past, according to Moscow. Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Kiev attempted to strike the bridge with a missile, but failed to penetrate the air defenses. In October last year, the bridge was damaged in a deadly truck bombing, which Moscow said was orchestrated by Ukrainian intelligence services. At the time, Russia responded by intensifying missile strikes on Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure.

Bridge

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“..despite the losses, the Ukrainians have so far taken just five of the 60 miles they hope to cover to reach the sea in the south and split the Russian forces in two.”

Real War To Defeat, Fake Propaganda To Victory – Nato Is In Two Minds (Helmer)

What is new now is that the Ukraine, the US and NATO are losing their war against Russia on the battlefield, and risk losing all the deterrence which NATO has been designing, building, buying, and deploying since 1949. With or without desperation measures, Swiss colonel Jacques Baud tells War of the Worlds, Russia has already won the war. “Colonel Douglas Macgregor hasn’t this courage,” a US NATO veteran comments, referring to the Trump Administration appointee now broadcasting against the Biden Administration. Russian military bloggers and the Defense Ministry in Moscow are reporting that the so-called mosquito tactic of numerous small Ukrainian attacks on the Russian lines, run simultaneously, are resulting in Russian feints followed by artillery counter-fire; ending in heavy Ukrainian losses followed by retreat without territorial gains.

“It is within the realm of possibility that Ukrainian forces have seen losses at this level,” the New York Times quotes a British security analyst, adding that “ a significant level of lost weapons was generally a hallmark of wars of attrition, like the one in Ukraine.” The newspaper adds the claim: “In the first two weeks of Ukraine’s gruelling counteroffensive, as much as 20 percent of the weaponry it sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed, according to American and European officials. The toll includes some of the formidable Western fighting machines — tanks and armored personnel carriers — the Ukrainians were counting on to beat back the Russians. The startling rate of losses dropped to about 10 percent in the ensuing weeks, the officials said, preserving more of the troops and machines needed for the major offensive push that the Ukrainians say is still to come.

Some of the improvement came because Ukraine changed tactics, focusing more on wearing down the Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles than charging into enemy minefields and fire. But that good news obscures some grim realities. The losses have also slowed because the counteroffensive itself has slowed — and even halted in places — as Ukrainian soldiers struggle against Russia’s formidable defences. And despite the losses, the Ukrainians have so far taken just five of the 60 miles they hope to cover to reach the sea in the south and split the Russian forces in two.”

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“This crisis demonstrates the inability of Westerners to think and act according to facts, rather than expectations. The Ukrainian people are beginning to understand this.”

The Wagner Mutiny (Jacques Baud)

Clearly, Putin did everything he could to prevent the mutineers from reaching Moscow, where any clashes could have fed into Western propaganda. Playing with Lukashenko’s mediation, Putin reacted with a mixture of firmness (adoption of anti-terrorist measures, trenches on access roads to Moscow, placing territorial units on alert) and magnanimity (offering a way out via Belarus) to calm things down. It should be noted that, despite his tough talk about “treason,” and contrary to the claims of Western propagandists, the indictment of the mutineers does not refer to article 275 of the penal code (treason), but to article 279 (armed rebellion), which is less serious, as explained by John Helmer in an excellent podcast.

That said, Vladimir Putin’s statement on June 27 that Russian forces had “prevented a civil war” seems to have unnecessarily over-dramatized the situation. He probably wanted to give importance to the role of the armed forces in this crisis, but at the same time, he also suggested a greater fragility than the events had shown. As to the idea that the intelligence services had foreseen this mutiny, it is most probably false. In fact, Westerners are watching Russia’s domestic situation for the slightest hint of regime change, which is the ultimate goal of our support for Ukraine. This is why, as early as May, with the first Prigozhin videos, Western services raised the possibility of a coup in Moscow. But, in terms of intelligence methodology, these are not “predictions,” but simply working hypotheses and scenarios.

For an intelligence service, predicting an event implies having indicators and concrete indications on which to draw conclusions. However, neither the Ukrainians, nor the Americans, nor the French had the slightest indication, but only the hope that such a mutiny might take place. As a member of Ukrainian military intelligence told the French channel France 24. In reality, everyone was surprised, and no international actor has been able to exploit in Ukraine or elsewhere what could have been the beginning of a power crisis in Russia. This also shows that Western understanding of the conflict is based exclusively on hypotheses, which are themselves often based on Ukrainian wishful thinking, but very rarely on facts. This is why we are pushing Ukraine towards defeat.

It is very likely that there was no Western involvement in Yevgeny Prigogin’s decision. The USA made every effort to demonstrate its distance from the Prigozhin mutiny. Westerners, on the other hand, saw it as the realization of their “dream” and clearly stirred up the situation in the hope that it would lead to internal conflict. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky tweeted that he might spend his vacation in Crimea. Besides a childish behavior, it shows that he has understood absolutely nothing about the dynamics of events in Russia. In the end, this situation was nothing more than that of a company director trying to save his business and doing so impulsively and thoughtlessly, with potentially dramatic consequences for combatants on both sides in Ukraine. This crisis demonstrates the inability of Westerners to think and act according to facts, rather than expectations. The Ukrainian people are beginning to understand this.

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“They take territory at great loss of life and equipment only to relinquish the same territory a few days layer with more losses.”

Cracks in NATO’s Ukraine Project (Hahn)

Western and Ukrainian expectations and claims regarding the potential of the counteroffensive are exposing the hideously phantasmagorical expectations of most in Washington, Brussels, and Kiev. After six weeks of Ukraine’s highly costly counteroffensive, instead of territorial gains Kiev’s forces are being routed, experiencing enormous casualties, losses of territory on the Oskol river, an operational encirclement of Avdiivka, and successful Russian advances on the Kupyansk-Liman front lines. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed on July 11th that the Ukrainians have suffered 26,000 casualties and lost 3,000 units of equipment, including 1,244 tanks and fighting vehicles as well as APCs, artillery pieces, and mortars, since June 4th when the counteroffensive began.[2]

To put this into the perspective of Ukrainian weapons requests and NATO capacity and willingness (or unwillingness) to meet them, in December 2022 last year Zalyuzhniy told The Economist that he needed “300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs, 500 Howitzers.” In such case, he thought it “completely realistic to get to the lines of February 23rd.” But the Ukrainians never received anything like this, and the West nevertheless pressed Zelenskiy to underataken the ill-considered idea of a broad counter-offensive against the revived Russian army. The Ukrainians have lost more equipment in just six weeks of the counteroffensive than Zalyuzhniy had requested; this without even reaching the first line of the Russian forces’ three well dug-in defense lines in the south and making even less progress in the east. Ukrainian forces have not been able to take and hold even one small settlement along the entire line of contact extending from Kherson to Kharkov. They take territory at great loss of life and equipment only to relinquish the same territory a few days layer with more losses. Not surprisingly, cracks are appearing in the Ukrainian ranks.[3]

On this background it is hardly surprising that tensions between Kiev and its Western patrons are running high, with each side blaming the other for the military farce. Both Zalyuzhniy and Zelenskiy are at odds with the West for its failure to provide sufficient military equipment for a counteroffensive the West itself has demanded as a kind of test as to whether Kiev deserves continuing military aid. In turn, Zelenskiy made his disenchantment with NATO and the West known both before and during the summit. In a June 30th Washington Post interview, Zalyuzhniy seemed to be airing both his opposition to the conduct of the counteroffensive without sufficient fire power (recall the pre-offensive pressure from Kiev for the provision of F-16s) as well as Kiev’s grievances regarding insufficient arms, thus setting up the West as scapegoat for the counteroffensive’s failure.

[..] Years of successfully pulling the wool over people’s eyes and Western fawning over him since February 2022 led Zelenskiy to overestimate the power of his personality and his communication skills. There was never any chance that the NATO summit in Vilnius would offer Ukraine membership, a membership action plan (MAP), or a shortcut to membership no matter how charismatic Zelenskiy imagines himself to be. These hopes were as delusional as were the repeated Ukrainian decisions not to forego NATO membership before and after Maidan, before and after Minsk, before and after Putin’s proposals on a new European security architecture and his massing of troops on Ukraine’s borders, before and after his February 2022 invasion, and before and after the March 2022 agreement to end the war by Kiev renouncing the goal of NATO membership and returning to the Minsk format.

What kind of policy is it that demands Ukraine’s movement towards NATO membership, backs a coup to achieve it, and then arms the intensely anti-Russian Maidan regime while not offering Kiev NATO membership in the face of decades of protestations from the military and nuclear power next door that it views such actions as a grave threat to its national security? But it is worse than that.

The Washington/Brussels consensus tells us that Putin is a hungry, imperial dictator determined at all costs to conquer ‘all of Ukraine’ and reestablish the former USSR, meaning taking all the Baltic and Transcaucasus countries as well. If we are to be guided by the concensus’s analysis, then we are left with the unavoidable conclusion that Washington and Brussels pushed Ukraine into the claws of the aggressive, angry bear they themselves riled and aggravated. No matter. United together, ‘we will not waver’: Ukraine will fight ‘as long as it takes’ to defeat the bear on behalf of the United States and its subservient allies.

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“How much does the USA spend on military hardware? How much has the United States sent to Ukraine? How many billions and billions of dollars? How many other countries have thrown billions and billions of dollars into this? And they’re gonna run out of ammunition? What? What?!”

Failed Proxy War With Russia Shows US Can’t ‘Pick on Someone Its Own Size’ (Sp.)

In a string of statements last week justifying cluster bombs’ deployment, White House, Pentagon and State Department officials characterized it as a stopgap measure that should allow US defense industry to ramp up its “depleted” stocks of 155 mm shells. Secretary of State Antony Blinken even suggested that Ukraine would be “defenseless” if Washington did not urgently send the weapons. “The stockpiles around the world and in Ukraine of the unitary munitions, not the cluster munitions, were running out, about to be depleted. And so, the hard but necessary choice to give them the cluster munitions amounted to this: if we didn’t do it, we don’t do it, then they will run out of ammunition. If they run out of ammunition, then they will be defenseless,” Blinken said.

“I don’t understand how a cluster bomb is a ‘defensive’ weapon,” veteran US-based journalist and political analyst Caleb Maupin told Sputnik. “This is something you drop from a plane or you deploy and it goes across a widespread area and explodes, or it remains undetonated and then someone walks by and gets blown up. So the idea that they would be ‘defenseless’ without the cluster bombs, that doesn’t add up [if you] look at what a cluster bomb is.” Maupin also questioned how it was that the US and its NATO allies, which outspend Russia militarily multiple times over, and have sent more weapons to Ukraine than Moscow spends on defense in a year, could be “running out” of ammunition.

“How much does the USA spend on military hardware? How much has the United States sent to Ukraine? How many billions and billions of dollars? How many other countries have thrown billions and billions of dollars into this? And they’re gonna run out of ammunition? What? What?! And you look at Russia, and you look at Belarus, the countries that are on the other side in Ukraine, they don’t seem to have this problem. They’re not running out of ammunition. They’re not running out of military hardware and weapons,” Maupin said.

“The United States has spent so much more money on this and so many billions of dollars have been piled into Ukraine. What’s going on here? What in the world is going on here? You almost wonder if this military-industrial complex thing where weaponry has been turned into a mechanism for stabilizing the economy, we dump lots of money into military expenditures – you wonder if a lot of these weapons are produced with the thought that they might never be used. They’re simply a moneymaking cash cow for certain Pentagon contractors. And with that being the situation, you have to wonder why we are going through them so quickly and what’s really going on here,” he added.

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The numbers are interesting. They don’t seem to confirm what RFK claims.

Why Dennis Kucinich Should Now Threaten His Candidate RFK Jr. (Zuesse)

The former Congressman Dennis Kucinich is RFK Jr.’s campaign manager, which is a crucial advisor to any Presidential candidate; he now needs to lay down the law to his candidate and threaten to resign unless RFK Jr. will promise never again to be so sloppy in his wordings as to leave his many enemies on both the left and the right an opportunity to splash headlines against him that will take advantage of those sloppy wordings from him so as to accentuate still further the candidate’s existing propaganda-vulnerabilities. RFK Jr. has now done this twice — once in a way that will antagonize Palestinians and any progressive Jews who support them against Israel; and, now, this time, on July 12th, in an incident that the intensely pro-Israel Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post headlined about on July 15th, “RFK Jr. says COVID was ‘ethnically targeted’ to spare Jews”. (A more honest headline would have been “RFK Jr. says COVID was ‘ethnically targeted’ to spare Jews and Chinese,” but Murdoch knows that Democratic Party primaries candidates need votes mainly from Jews and from Blacks, not from Chinese; and, so, playing the ‘anti-Semite’ card against Kennedy would hit him where any Democratic Party Presidential candidate would be hurt the most.)

Kennedy said there that scientific studies had shown that because of certain details of the structure of the virus that causes the covid-19 disease, and because of certain genetic structures that are more commonly found in Jews and in Chinese and that are least commonly found generally among both Whites and Blacks, the ratios of Jews and of Chinese who have fallen victim to the covid-19 virus have been remarkably low, and the ratios of all Whites and of all Blacks who have fallen victim to it have been remarkably high. He apparently felt that more research needs to be done on this, especially if covid-19 was created as a bioweapon (and so maybe targeted against Whites and Blacks). If those allegations are truthful, then any rational person would agree with them, but RFK Jr.’s having worded his argument as carelessly as he did was a gratuitous invitation for his enemies to use his statements there as a weapon against him so as to prevent him from becoming the Party’s nominee instead of for Joe Biden to become that.

This was the second such incident. The first was pandering for the pro-Israeli or “zionist” Jewish vote on June 13th by telling Glenn Greenwald that “Israel is a democracy” (as-if an apartheid nation can even POSSIBLY be that), and he refused to answer Greenwald’s question of whether if he will become President he will act so as to stop U.S. taxpayers from continuing to donate $3.8 billion per year to Israel’s Government, $3.3 billion of that to be spent on buying weapons made by U.S. weapons-manufacturing corporations to be used against Palestinians and against Iran. He wouldn’t answer it.

[..] I myself am skeptical even of the truthfulness of what Kennedy said there about the covid-19 virus and its vaccines [..] look at Israel there: It has had 517,874 covid-19 cases per million inhabitants, and that is the 23rd-highest infection-rate among the 228 nations on the planet. Israel has had 1,348 covid-19 deaths per million population, and that’s the 85th-highest covid death-rate. So, since Israel has the world’s highest population-percentage who are Jews, why does that country have among the world’s highest infection-rates and even of death-rates from that virus? And how can this be the case if what RFK Jr. said on July 12th is actually true? Obviously, it can’t. On the other hand: China has had only 347 cases of covid-19 per million people, and that is the lowest of all nations (except for Western Sahara which has a total population of only 626,161 spread over its entire desert, and that’s too small a population over too large an area for it to be at all comparable to China.)

But look at what is the world’s second-lowest: Niger. And its population is 26,083,660. There is no reason to doubt its covid-19 statistics; moreover, some others among the best-performing covid-19 countries are also Black African nations.

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“..the Cocaine was for use by Hunter, & probably Crooked Joe, in order to give this total disaster of a President a little life and energy!”

Hunter Biden Threatens Trump With ‘Legal Trouble’ (RT)

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to former president Donald Trump on Thursday, warning that continuing to target the troubled 53-year-old on social media could result in “even more legal trouble” for the Republican presidential hopeful. Trump’s online comments – including his suggestions that one or both Bidens was responsible for the cocaine recently discovered in the White House – “could lead to [Hunter’s] or his family’s injury,”Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for the younger Biden, told ABC News on Friday. Lowell cited previous incidents, including the January 6 Capitol riot, the assault on then House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October, and the arrest of a heavily-armed man near the Obama’s home last month, as being inspired by past Trump comments and warned Trump’s attorneys, “We are just one such social media message away from another incident.”

“You should make clear to Mr. Trump – if you have not done so already – that Mr. Trump’s words have caused harm in the past and threaten to do so again if he does not stop,” Lowell continued, urging the ex-president’s lawyers to impress upon their client “how his incitement can further hurt people and cause himself even more legal trouble.” Trump recently skewered Hunter with a series of posts on his Truth Social platform, arguing the cocaine discovered in a cubby in the White House’s West Wing earlier this month belonged to the younger Biden, whose struggles with crack addiction are well-documented. “THEY 100% KNOW WHO IT IS,”Trump wrote regarding the cocaine culprit on Monday, claiming, “If they don’t release information, it means they destroyed the tapes & the Cocaine was for use by Hunter, & probably Crooked Joe, in order to give this total disaster of a President a little life and energy!”

In an earlier post, he asked if “anyone really believe[d] that the COCAINE found in the West Wing of the White House, very close to the Oval Office, [was] for the use of anyone other than Hunter & Joe Biden.” Trump renewed his attacks after the younger Biden pleaded guilty last month to two misdemeanor tax charges following a years-long investigation, in a plea deal that is expected to keep him out of prison. The Republican 2024 frontrunner lamented that the prosecutor “gave out a traffic ticket instead of a death sentence.” The former president’s own legal troubles continue to pile up, as a Georgia grand jury considers charging him over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He has already been indicted both federally and by the state of New York and has pled not guilty to all charges.

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So much for protected free speech.

Almost Half of Millennials Want Jail Time for “Misgendering” (Turley)

A recent survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek, found that 44 percent of millennials (between ages 25-34) favor criminal charges for people who use the wrong pronouns for others or so-called “misgendering.” We have previously discussed how misgendering is now a crime in countries like Great Britain. Misgendering has been referred to as an “act of violence” at some U.S. universities. There has been a concern that we are seeing the rise of a generation of censors, who have been taught since a young age that speech is harmful and even violent. Yet, hate speech is protected in the United States. Given that fact, it is astonishing to claim that a pronoun violation could lead to incarceration. Only 31 percent of the millennials disagreed with the proposition. They are not alone. Recently, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who is a lawyer, said that “if you espouse hate … you’re not protected under the First Amendment.”


Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean declared the identical position: “Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.” Even some dictionaries now espouse this false premise, defining “hate speech” as “Speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.” If hate speech is constitutionally protected, pronoun use or misuse is also protected as a criminal matter. (There is ongoing litigation of the protection in an employment setting for civil liability or disciplinary action). Yet, the most serious concern is the inclination of this generation to use criminal laws to police such questions. It reflects the erosion of free speech principles with younger generations. That crisis of faith could prove disastrous with free speech in a virtual free fall in Europe.

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Media – It’s hot in Europe & people are going to stop going on holiday. Except here’s a map of July 1973 for Greece. It didn’t stop European holidays, they increased to +538 million tourists, predicted to increase by 9 million per year.

 

 


42°C in Novara, Northern Italy, back in 1952.

 

 

 

 

Pool

 

 

cat rooster
https://twitter.com/i/status/1680817457177542656

 

 

Puffer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1680609418071756801

 

 

WHEN I AM OLD
When I am old… I will wear soft gray sweatshirts… and a bandana over my silver hair… and I will spend my social security checks on my dogs. I will sit in my house on my well-worn chair and listen to my dogs breathing. I will sneak out in the middle of a warm summer night and take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow… When people come to call, I will smile and nod as I show them my dogs… and talk of them and about them…

the ones so beloved of the past and the ones so beloved of today… I will still work hard cleaning after them, mopping and feeding them and whispering their names in a soft loving way. I will wear the gleaming sweat on my throat, like a jewel, and I will be an embarrassment to all… especially my family… who have not yet found the peace in being free to have dogs as your best friends… These friends who always wait, at any hour, for your footfall… and eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep, to greet you as if you are a God, with warm eyes full of adoring love and hope that you will always stay,

I’ll hug their big strong necks… I’ll kiss their dear sweet heads… and whisper in their very special company… I look in the mirror… and see I am getting old… this is the kind of person I am… and have always been. Loving dogs is easy, they are part of me. Please accept me for who I am. My dogs appreciate my presence in their lives… they love my presence in their lives… When I am old this will be important to me… you will understand when you are old, if you have dogs to love too.

Author Unknown (DM)

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 142023
 
 July 14, 2023  Posted by at 8:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Femme nue couchée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

 

NATO Ultimatum To Ukraine – Win By Winter Or Die (Helmer)
Putin ‘Already Lost’ War In Ukraine, Biden Says (Hill)
NATO Suffering Delusions Of Grandeur – Lavrov
Russia Will Treat F-16s In Ukraine As Nuclear Threat – Lavrov (RT)
Putin: Ukraine in NATO Will Create Security Threat for Russia (Sp.)
NATO Summit Serves Up Cringe Nothing-Burger (Scott Ritter)
NATO Can’t Exist Without An Enemy – Moscow (RT)
Wagner PMC Formally Doesn’t Exist – Putin (TASS)
Biden Offered Erdogan IMF Support To Ratify Sweden NATO Bid – Hersh (RT)
US to Supply ‘Significant Military Equipment’ Soon – Greek PM (Sp.)
Rampant Corruption Is One Reason Behind Ukraine’s Failed NATO Bid (RMX)
How The End Of The US Dollar’s Global Dominance Will Play Out (Salikhov)
New Twitter Files Contradict FBI Director’s Testimony (Turley)
Drugs Discovered Three Times At White House Since 2022 (JTN)
Hollywood Grinds To A Halt As Actors And Writers Go On Strike Together (ZH)

 

 

 

 

RFK TNI

 

 

Biden quietly sends 3,000 active US troops to Europe. Ukraine?!

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Caviezel

 

 

 

 

Agenda 21

 

 

EP WHO

 

 

 

 

“Whatever is achieved by the end of this year will be the baseline for negotiation..”

NATO Ultimatum To Ukraine – Win By Winter Or Die (Helmer)

For all its public talk, NATO has agreed on a secret six-month plan for Ukraine. It’s a case of do or die by December. Either the Ukrainian forces, firing everything the NATO allies can give them — from US cluster munitions to Franco-English Storm Shadow missiles and German Leopard tanks — will gain territory and advantage over the Russians; or else the Kiev regime will be destroyed and must fall back on Lvov while NATO beats its own retreat westward from the Polish and Romanian borders — its military capabilities defeated but its Article Five intact. This is hardly a secret. “Whatever is achieved by the end of this year will be the baseline for negotiation”, the Czech President Petr Pavel, former Czech and NATO army general, announced on the first day of the summit meetings in Vilnius. There is no more than a six-month window of opportunity, Pavel added, which will “more or less close by the end of this year”. After that, “we will see another decline of willingness to massively support Ukraine with more weapons.”

The difference between the Czech’s “more or less” was explained to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky by Henry Kissinger on the telephone. But the telephone was rigged, and Kissinger was talking instead to the Stavka in Moscow, in the guise of the pranksters Vovan and Lexus. After justifying himself at length for initially opposing NATO membership of the Ukraine, and then mispronouncing the word “anomalous”, Kissinger acknowledged there is a problem for the Biden Administration to combat European government opposition to NATO membership for the Ukraine. The Ukrainians must fight against that, too, he implied. So long as the US is backing Zelensky, it is necessary for the Ukrainian offensive to demonstrate small territorial advantages; abandon more ambitious ones (like Crimea); and only then agree to ceasefire talks. Although Kissinger told Zelensky he had been speaking with US “military people”, he gave no hint that they had warned him the Ukrainians are facing defeat on the battlefield, and the loss of both territory and European support.

The Russian General Staff calculation is different. At the current rate of battlefield casualties – announced by the Defense Ministry counting conservatively — by December 31 the Ukrainian army will lose between 75,000 and 100,000 dead, and up to 300,000 wounded and out of combat. In parallel, the destruction of NATO weapons will accelerate faster than the NATO states can resupply and deliver them, or replacement parts to keep the surviving stock going at the front. By the time Russia’s General Winter takes control of the battlefield, there will be too few Ukrainian fighting men left, and insufficient weapons and ammunition, to resist the start of the Russian offensive. A demilitarized zone of mines and cluster bomblets will have taken shape over several hundred kilometres west of the surrendering Odessa, Nikolaev, and Kharkov; they will abandon Kiev when Kiev abandons them.

The Russian target then will be to drive what remains of the Ukrainian regime, its flags, tattoos, money, and stay-behind terrorism plans, into an enclave around Lvov. The NATO window, as General Pavel called it, will have been opened, but then will be closed to keep NATO itself from catching cold. One of the unreported outcomes of the Wagner mutiny, and of the June 29 meeting in Moscow between President Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, is Putin’s commitment to fight for nothing short of the Ukraine’s rout to Lvov, and the NATO retreat westward in the footsteps of the Grande Armée and the Wehrmacht. This too is incomprehensible at NATO headquarters.

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How are they going to walk this back in a few months’ time? Blame Zelensky?

Putin ‘Already Lost’ War In Ukraine, Biden Says (Hill)

President Biden said Thursday there is “no possibility” of Russian President Vladimir Putin winning the war in Ukraine while adding he’s “already lost” the conflict as Biden capped a trip to Lithuania and Finland as a show of strength against Russian aggression. Biden, in a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, was asked whether his assurance that Ukraine will be able to join the NATO alliance once its war with Russia ends might encourage Putin to drag out the conflict. Biden noted no country can join NATO while in the middle of a war, because it would drag the entire alliance into conflict — a stance Biden and his administration have been stressing this week as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the alliance’s resistance to fast-tracking its membership.

“The issue of whether or not this is going to keep Putin from continuing to fight, the answer is Putin’s already lost the war,” Biden continued. “Putin has a real problem. How does he move from here? What does he do?” “And so, the idea that there’s going to be what vehicle is used, he could end the war tomorrow. He could just say, ‘I’m out,’” Biden added. “But what agreement is ultimately reached depends on Putin and what he decides to do. But there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine. He’s already lost that war.” Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and the fighting has dragged on in the 17 months since with no end in sight. The U.S. and its allies have provided billions of dollars in support for Ukraine to defend itself.

Biden has previously argued Putin will not be able to win the war in Ukraine because the Ukrainians have put up a staunch defense in response to the Russian invasion, and his aggression has galvanized the NATO alliance. The president this week attended a NATO Summit in Lithuania, where continued support for Ukraine was at the top of the agenda. The U.S. and its Group of Seven allies announced plans Wednesday for security negotations with Ukraine to ensure it had the military support it needed in the short-term and in the future to defer further Russian aggression.

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“..apparently, we are not even allowed now to have a relationship [with China], or so they wish.”

NATO Suffering Delusions Of Grandeur – Lavrov

The US and its allies are targeting Russia and China because of their strong relationship, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed, citing the final communique from this week’s NATO summit in Lithuania. The NATO document stated that “the deepening strategic partnership between [China] and Russia and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.” Commenting on Thursday during a trip to Indonesia, Lavrov said that “apparently, we are not even allowed now to have a relationship [with China], or so they wish.” The diplomat noted that the US had previously limited itself to referring to Russia and China as its “rivals.”

The NATO statement further justifies Russia’s efforts to oppose “modern forms of colonialism” and to advocate international relations based on respect, Lavrov insisted. “People in NATO are obviously not prepared for [the same approach]. Delusion of grandeur is expressed in all actions of the NATO leadership, as well as member states, frankly speaking. Everybody sees that,” the Russian minister claimed. Lavrov accused the West of attempting to preserve its hegemony and dress it up as a “rules-based order,” but predicted that multipolarity would ultimately prevail. He also alleged that NATO’s appetite for spreading its influence globally was causing destabilization outside of the North Atlantic region.

“They already have plans to build up NATO military infrastructure in the [Asia-Pacific] region, including in the nations that were invited to the summit in Vilnius… I mean Australia, New Zealand, Japan, [South] Korea,” said the minister. Canberra violated its own commitment to keep the Pacific free from nuclear weapons when it agreed to host “elements of infrastructure” related to nuclear arms under the AUKUS arrangement, Lavrov argued. Tokyo and Seoul “have been signaling that they would not oppose stationing American nuclear weapons or obtaining some of their own,” he added. The Russian foreign minister was speaking in Indonesia after a summit with ASEAN, a regional integration bloc. He claimed the US was pushing for the Southeast Asian organization to be replaced by structures under Washington’s control, so that it could undermine China.

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“The very fact of the appearance of such systems within the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be considered by us as a threat from the West in the nuclear domain..”

Russia Will Treat F-16s In Ukraine As Nuclear Threat – Lavrov (RT)

Moscow can’t ignore the nuclear capability of US-designed F-16 fighter jets that may be supplied to Ukraine by its Western backers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. By continuing to provide more sophisticated arms to Kiev, “the US and its NATO satellites create the risk of a direct armed confrontation with Russia, and this may lead to catastrophic consequences,” Lavrov warned in his interview with Lenta.ru on Wednesday. The plans to supply F-16s to Kiev is yet another example of an escalatory move by the West and in itself is “an extremely dangerous development,” he stated. “We have informed the nuclear powers – the US, UK and France – that Russia can’t ignore the ability of these aircraft to carry nuclear weapons,” the foreign minister continued.

“No assurances [by the West] will help here,” he warned. In the midst of fighting, the Russian military isn’t going to investigate whether any specific jet is equipped to deliver nuclear weapons or not, he added. “The very fact of the appearance of such systems within the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be considered by us as a threat from the West in the nuclear domain,” Lavrov said. In an interview on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius on Wednesday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said “there will be the transfer of F-16s [to Ukraine], likely from European countries that have excess F-16 supplies.” A day earlier, Denmark announced that a “coalition” – which includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the UK and Sweden – would begin training Ukrainian airmen to fly the US-designed aircraft in August.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba suggested earlier this week that the first F-16s piloted by Ukrainians could take to the skies“by the end of the first quarter of next year.” Kiev has been pressing its foreign backers for fourth-generation F-16 warplanes for months, arguing that they are crucial in providing air cover for Ukraine’s troops and defending Ukrainian airspace amid a massive Russian missile campaign targeting military facilities and energy infrastructure. The US and its allies initially ruled out deliveries of the jets, saying the F-16 wasn’t the type of hardware that Ukraine needed, but changed their stance on the issue over time. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was no doubt that the F-16s “will burn”once they’re delivered to Ukraine, just like what has happened to tanks and other Western-supplied weapons.

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“I am sure that this will not increase the security of Ukraine itself..”

Putin: Ukraine in NATO Will Create Security Threat for Russia (Sp.)

In early June, Zelensky said that Kiev hoped to receive a clear invitation to join the bloc at the Vilnius summit. He also said Kiev was disappointed that it had not yet received a clear positive response about joining both the European Union and NATO. Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO will create a security threat for Russia and will not increase security of Ukraine itself, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “As for Ukraine’s membership in NATO, we have repeatedly spoken about this, this creates threats to Russia’s security. Obviously. And as a matter of fact, the reason for the special military operation, one of the reasons, is the threat of Ukraine’s entry into NATO. I am sure that this will not increase the security of Ukraine itself,” Putin said.


Speaking about Western missiles and tanks supplied to Ukraine, Vladimir Putin noted that they ause damage but do not pose a critical threat in the combat zone. “As for the supply of weapons, various weapons, we see how many hopes were placed on the supply of missiles with a sufficiently long range. Well, yes, they cause damage, but nothing critical happens in the combat zone with the use of missiles. The same goes for foreign-made tanks, infantry fighting vehicles,” Putin said on air of the Rossiya 24 broadcaster. The president added that 311 pieces of military equipment used by Ukraine has been destroyed since June 4, and at least one third of those were Western-made. “I can tell you that Ukrainian servicemen often refuse to even get into these tanks, because they are a priority target for our guys,” Putin said, adding that foreign tanks “burn better” than the Soviet-made ones.

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“Zelensky confronted his erstwhile allies with the harsh reality that not only would the conflict with Russia not be ending any time soon, but also the growing realization that, when it did end, it would be as a decisive Russian military victory.”

NATO Summit Serves Up Cringe Nothing-Burger (Scott Ritter)

The Vilnius Summit was intended to showcase the alliance’s unity and resolve in the face of the challenges presented by Russia and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. There had been a great deal of discussion prior to the summit about the prospects of Ukrainian membership in NATO. It was understood by all parties that, while the conflict between Ukraine and Russia remained in an active phase, Ukrainian membership was impossible, if for no other reason that, under Article 5 of the NATO charter, NATO would immediately find itself in a war with Russia which had a good chance of going nuclear. The working premise going into the Vilnius Summit was that NATO would empower Ukraine to carry out a massive counteroffensive designed to break through the Russian defenses and drive to the Sea of Azov, thereby severing the land bridge between Crimea and Russia, forcing Russia to negotiate an end to the conflict.

At that juncture, having “frozen” the conflict on terms that would be unfavorable to Russia, NATO would extend an invitation to Ukraine for membership, thereby shrouding Ukraine’s gains with Article 5 protections while effectively checking any future Russian offensive operations. In the weeks leading up to the summit, Ukraine was desperately trying to do its part, throwing its newly constituted NATO-trained and equipped assault brigades at prepared Russian defenses in actions which made the infamous “Charge of the Light Brigade” seem like the epitome of military planning and execution by comparison. With much of its NATO-provided weaponry, including the much-touted Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, destroyed or damaged without ever reaching the main Russian defensive positions, and some 20,000 Ukrainian casualties, the Ukrainian counteroffensive fizzled out.

Instead of presenting his NATO partners with a decisive Ukrainian victory, Zelensky confronted his erstwhile allies with the harsh reality that not only would the conflict with Russia not be ending any time soon, but also the growing realization that, when it did end, it would be as a decisive Russian military victory. Confronted with this reality, NATO sought to soften expectations about Ukrainian membership. Rather than provide Ukraine with a concrete road map to membership, NATO declared that it would extend an invitation to Ukraine when “conditions are met”, one of which is that the conflict with Russia must be over. NATO offered up as a consolation prize the establishment of a NATO-Ukraine Council “to advance political dialogue, engagement, cooperation, and Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO,” and promised to “continue our support for as long as it takes.”

Scott Ritter

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“..catastrophic consequences for European security, Ukraine, and the alliance itself.”

NATO Can’t Exist Without An Enemy – Moscow (RT)

NATO needs enemies so it could justify its existence, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko said on Thursday, reflecting on the Western bloc’s recent meeting in neighboring Lithuania. “Expansion is one of the instruments used by NATO countries to maintain confrontation,” Grushko told Russia’s Channel One. “Therefore, unfortunately, history has forced us to conclude that NATO cannot exist without an adversary. Otherwise, it would lose all meaning.” Grushko stressed that the admission of Ukraine into the US-led bloc would have “catastrophic consequences for European security, Ukraine, and the alliance itself.” At the same time, Western countries use the prospect of NATO membership as a way to control Ukraine’s domestic politics, the diplomat argued.


Although NATO has refused to grant an immediate membership or a concrete accession timetable to Kiev, the bloc’s members affirmed at the summit in Vilnius on Tuesday that the country would be invited to join in the future. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine was “closer to NATO than ever before.” Russia considers NATO’s expansion eastward a threat to its own national security, and has warned that the delivery of heavy weapons and other military aid to Ukraine makes the alliance a de facto participant in the conflict. Western countries insist that NATO is a strictly defensive alliance and claims that it poses no threat to Russia.

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“..there is no such legal entity.””The [Wagner] Group exists, but it is judicially non-existent..”

Wagner PMC Formally Doesn’t Exist – Putin (TASS)

Legalizing private military companies is a complicated issue that should be handled by the government and the parliament, because formally companies such as Wagner PMC are non-existent in Russia at this point, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying. Kommersant’s special correspondent Andrey Kolesnikov quoted the Russian president as saying in response to a question about the organization’s future that, from the point of view of the Russian legislation, “Wagner PMC does not exist.” The president explained that Russia has no law on private military companies and, therefore, “there is no such legal entity.””The [Wagner] Group exists, but it is judicially non-existent,” the report quotes Putin as saying.


“The formal legalization is a separate issue that should be addressed by the State Duma [the lower chamber of the Russian parliament] and the government. It’s a complicated issue.” The president believes that the Wagner Group controversy “is very simple and clear for [members of] the Russian society.” “Wagner’s ordinary members were fighting with dignity… so it is very regrettable that they became embroiled into these events,” Putin added. On Thursday, the Russian president took part in the plenary session of the Future Technologies Forum. After the event was over, he had a conversation with Russian journalists. Excerpts of the talk, where the issue of Ukraine, NATO and the grain deal were raised, were published by the Kremlin website and aired by the Rosssiya-24 television channel.

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Erdogan is in big financial trouble.

Biden Offered Erdogan IMF Support To Ratify Sweden NATO Bid – Hersh (RT)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed on Thursday that US President Joe Biden offered his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than $11 billion in IMF assistance to ratify Sweden’s bid to join the NATO bloc. In an article posted to his Substack account, Hersh wrote that he had been informed by an anonymous source that “Biden promised that a much-needed $11-13 billion line of credit” would be established for Türkiye by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This was to be in return, Hersh suggested, for Erdogan removing Ankara’s objection to Stockholm joining the US-led military bloc ahead of the NATO summit that took place this week in Lithuania.

Erdogan, who was re-elected as Turkish leader in late May, is currently facing the mammoth task of replacing or repairing hundreds of thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed in February’s earthquakes in which at least 50,000 lost their lives. Türkiye had previously opposed Sweden’s accession to the bloc, largely due to Ankara’s stance that Stockholm has harbored militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which was involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state in the 1980s. The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by Türkiye, Sweden, Europe and the United States. “What could be better for Erdogan,” Hersh wrote of the American and Turkish presidents’ alleged arrangement, quoting an official familiar with it, than him “finally having seen the light and realizing he is better off with NATO and Western Europe?”

The report also referenced a June financial analysis of Ankara’s coffers by the independent think tank Council on Foreign Relations, which cast a dire economic outlook for Erdogan to navigate in the early stages of his latest term as leader. It said that Türkiye stands on the precipice of an “imminent financial crisis” and if facing a choice “between selling its gold, an avoidable default, or swallowing the bitter pill of a complete policy reversal and possibly an IMF program.” Hersh, 86, generated headlines earlier this year when he claimed he had been informed –also by an anonymous source– that the United States was responsible for last year’s explosions that neutered the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines that supply energy from Russia to Europe. Washington dismissed the claims as “complete fiction.”

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To balance out the support for Turkey…

US to Supply ‘Significant Military Equipment’ Soon – Greek PM (Sp.)

The United States will soon provide Greece with “significant military equipment” for free, announced Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “I mean not only the approval of [the delivery of] F-35 [fighter jets], which is very important, but also the possibility of getting surplus [military] equipment, significant surplus equipment that will be given to us for free. That is what the US is doing and has every reason to do it to a greater extent for a good ally like Greece,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Greek broadcaster while expressing hope that F-35s would be delivered in 2028. The prime minister noted that Athens was engaged in talks with Washington, having signed “a very strong defense agreement for five years,” adding that he believed Greece hopes for support “regardless of what happens in the negotiations with Turkiye.”

Mitsotakis also said that the construction of French-made Belharra-class frigates for Greece was ahead of schedule, adding that the first frigate would be delivered in September. He noted that Athens are aimed at having “a very strong deterrence capacity,” adding that he believed Greece “has been able to achieve that at a rapid pace.” In 2019 and 2021, Washington and Athens amended the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, which allowed the US to establish new military bases on the territory of Greece and expanded the term of the agreement from one to five years. Until 2019, the US had only one military base in Greece but now has nine. The US was granted access to the port of Alexandroupolis in the north of the country, which is used for the delivery of military equipment to Eastern Europe and Ukraine. Mitsotakis then said that the amended agreement made Greece Washington’s main partner in the region.

Greece is implementing 19 arms procurement programs worth 11.5 billion euros ($12.9 billion). Among them are the purchase of 24 French-made Rafale fighter aircraft, Belharra-class frigates and the modernization of 83 F-16 Block 52+ and 52+ Advanced fighters to the Viper variant — the most advanced variant of F-16. The Greek air force already received two F-16 Viper fighters in September 2022. Moreover, Athens is planning to purchase over 20 F-35 fifth-generation fighters.

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Ukraine has never been more corrupt. The enormous influx of money and weapons systems guarantees it.

Rampant Corruption Is One Reason Behind Ukraine’s Failed NATO Bid (RMX)

Ukraine must implement reforms to fight corruption and strengthen its institutions if it wants to be eligible to join NATO, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, during the second day of the NATO summit in Vilnius. Von der Leyen encouraged Ukraine to implement further reforms and pledged the support of the European Union. According to Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, von der Leyen’s statement “said in plain language that there was still so much corruption and opacity in Ukraine’s institutions that it could not yet get the green light to join NATO or the European Union.” However, the paper also noted that von der Leyen noted the country’s efforts were appreciated and it had made a lot of progress.

The European Commission already identified systemic corruption in Ukraine in 2021. Although the EU had launched a number of initiatives to reduce the potential for corruption and proposed a wide range of measures, the EU commission’s report at the time found that no progress had been made on this issue in 2021. At that time, there was a significant decline in the judiciary, and anti-corruption institutions were also under threat, according to the report. The authors also noted that oligarchs and vested interests are the biggest problem, as they are an obstacle to the rule of law and economic development in Ukraine.

Brussels is keen to bring Ukraine into the European Union. However, even EU officials do not dare mention in their reports anything concrete or substantial to suggest that Ukraine is ready for integration, and Von der Leyen’s remarks indicate that the situation has still not improved. As Remix News reported last week, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, representing Ukrainian entrepreneurs, issued an appeal to President Volodymyr Zelensky, demanding action to curb the abuse of power by government officials. The abuse of power by military officials and judges has crossed all lines, according to Ukrainian entrepreneurs, who are calling for the establishment of a public registry to identify corrupt officials. They further argue that corruption on an unprecedented scale is eroding Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

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Anybody’s guess.

How The End Of The US Dollar’s Global Dominance Will Play Out (Salikhov)

A more important factor than the nominal share of the US dollar in international reserves is the changing approach to the management and accumulation of foreign assets. The same IMF data shows that the total value of central bank reserves has remained virtually unchanged at $11.5-12 trillion over the past decade, even as the global economy has grown. China’s foreign exchange reserves peaked at $4 trillion in 2014 and have been declining ever since. Their current value is $3.2 trillion, down 20% from 2014. Many other developing countries are not increasing their international reserves, if not reducing them. This does not mean, however, that external assets are not being created.

They can be formed in “non-standard” forms, such as assets of sovereign wealth funds, state banks, development institutions and other structures not directly related to central banks. Foreign direct investment by government structures can also be classified as a type of reserve asset. Such a strategy is not aimed at maximising the availability and liquidity of assets, but at securing one’s own economic interests in foreign markets. To some extent, it provides greater protection against the political risks of asset freezes, as their legal status is less transparent. A similar strategy is being pursued by China, which is seeking to gradually “internationalize” its currency. Formally, the yuan’s share of central banks’ international reserves is small, amounting to no more than 3%. Moreover, between a third and a half of this demand is provided by the Bank of Russia.

China’s strategy is to secure the international status of the RMB through trade rather than investment. In recent years, China has actively sought to motivate and encourage its partners to trade in RMB rather than other currencies. This is being done in a number of ways, including infrastructure development, its own analogue of the SWIFT system, development of clearing, international lending in the currency and so on. Many people have heard of the term “petroyuan” – an analogue of the petrodollar. In essence, it is the signing of long-term contracts for the supply of oil in yuan in return for a flow of goods and equipment. So, trade is already being conducted in yuan rather than US dollars. This creates demand outside the Chinese economy. At the same time, the Chinese authorities maintain restrictions on capital transactions.

***
The de-dollarization of the global financial system will continue. This will be facilitated in particular by progress in financial technology. The development of automated trading platforms will reduce the cost of exchanging one currency for another. Central banks will seek to directly clear each other’s currencies without directly using the currencies of Western countries. In the future, central banks’ digital currencies may also be used for international transactions, reducing costs for economic agents. However, this process will be slow and we should not expect a fundamental change in the global financial system in the foreseeable future.

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“..when there’s a glitch, and the accounts remain up, the FBI immediately writes back and says, what’s the deal? We just wrote to you, why is it still up?”

New Twitter Files Contradict FBI Director’s Testimony (Turley)

Yesterday’s hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray was another maddening experience of faux contrition and open evasion. Wray apologized for violations that have already been established by courts or Congress (often over the best efforts of the FBI). However, on ample public evidence of new violations, Wray continued to use his favorite testimonial trilogy to dismiss any questions: expressing (1) lack of knowledge, (2) ongoing investigations, and (3) promises of later answers or briefings. He did, however, hold forth in detail after Rep. Eric Swalwell asked him about FBI Family Day. Despite the near total lack of substance, Wray did make one surprising denial. He insisted that the FBI does not engage in censorship efforts, focuses only on “foreign disinformation,” and does not pressure companies to censor others.

Those denials are not only directly contradicted by the recent 155-page opinion of a federal court and the Twitter Files, but a new release from the Twitter Files and journalist Matt Taibbi. Wray said that “…The FBI is not in the business of moderating content, or causing any social media company to suppress or censor.” He then added that these companies are not under any pressure in making their own decisions whether to censor people or groups flagged by the FBI. The statement is obviously false. The FBI maintained a large operation of agents actively seeking the censorship of thousands, as discussed in my prior testimony. Taibbi, however, has released another example of how aggressive the FBI was with social media companies. In the latest Twitter Files release, there is one email exchange where Twitter “immediately” suspended accounts flagged by the FBI without investigation.

Taibbi explained: “In one shot, you can see the FBI asks to remove three accounts, that gets forwarded to Twitter, Twitter immediately suspends them, the accounts. But more importantly, when there’s a glitch, and the accounts remain up, the FBI immediately writes back and says, what’s the deal? We just wrote to you, why is it still up? So, that shows the nature of the relationship basically that it’s not really a collaboration. It’s much more like somebody reporting to an authority. … [W]hat happens in these instances in the ones that I was showing, they’re just forwarding names of accounts that they say are associated with foreign threat actors. It’s very vague. And Twitter is taking them down before they even investigate. In this case, they later determined that they couldn’t find anything connecting them to any bad actors. In fact, one of them was from Canada. And so, that’s the problem. If it’s not connected with a crime, they’re just asking to take accounts down because they don’t like the profile of them.”

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”..everything they do is to move along to the next story. They know there will be another Biden crime crisis.”

Drugs Discovered Three Times At White House Since 2022 (JTN)

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert said after the Secret Service briefing Thursday on cocaine found July 2 at the White House that drugs have been found two other times since last year in the building. The Colorado lawmaker also confirmed that Secret Service officials said at the briefing the agency likely won’t find a suspect in connection to the cocaine discovery and that the probe will conclude Friday. “There’s a list of more than 500 individuals that they looked into their backgrounds for prior drug records or use, and nothing was determined from from their analysis,” she said. “And the Secret Service is very eager to close this within the next couple of days.”

The cocaine was reportedly found in a cubby near the White House’s West Executive entrance and weighed less than a gram. Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, who like Boebert is a member of the House Oversight Committee and attended the briefing, also confirmed with Just the News the investigation will be closed Friday without a suspect. “The cocaine caper is going to be concluded without any outcome. No suspects, no resolution,” the South Carolina lawmaker said after the briefing, “which is frustrating, because every time there’s something unsavory happening on the president, the White House’s administration, we never get an answer. And it’s just ironic and interesting and frustrating.”

Boebert said the drug found twice before in roughly the past year was marijuana and that she thinks the Secret Service closed the investigation without a suspect “because everything in this administration is about covering up for the Biden crime family.” “This is the third time that drugs have been found on the White House property since 2022, and we did not even hear about the marijuana,” she also said. “I certainly did not hear about the marijuana that was found in 2022, two times, and now there’s cocaine on the property. So everything they do is to move along to the next story. They know there will be another Biden crime crisis.”

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TV vs internet.

Hollywood Grinds To A Halt As Actors And Writers Go On Strike Together (ZH)

Actors and writers in Hollywood have staged the first joint walkout in six decades, saving the country – if not the world, from the production of crappy, woke entertainment, at least for now. The Screen Actors Guild, which represents approximately 160,000 performers, announced the strike on Thursday after failing to reach a new labor agreement with Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, which represents studios including Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc, Bloomberg reports. The Writers Guild of America, meanwhile has been on strike since May 2, shutting down late-night TV programs like The Tonight Show, halting many projects in progress and imperiling the traditional release of new broadcast TV shows starting in September.

In a statement after the strike announcement, the studio alliance said the union “has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.” -Boomberg According to the studios, double-digit percentage increases in salaries and higher pension and health benefits, plus a boost in residuals (the money actors and other receive when shows are rerun), weren’t enough. Also offered were protections against the use of actors’ digital likenesses. A key dispute which remains unresolved is compensation from streaming services as online video entertainment cannibalizes broadcast and cable TV.

“I cannot believe how far apart we are in so many things,” said SAG president Fran Drescher. “The entire business model has been changed by streaming. This is a moment of history. That is a moment of truth.” The move has halted work on shows such as Abbott Elementary and Netflix’s Stranger Things. if the strikes last more than a few days, the impact will be far greater than just the writer’s strike alone. Meanwhile, actors will have to stop promoting upcoming projects and refuse to attend events such as Comi-Con International which is scheduled for next week.

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Obesity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bison

 

 

Moth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1679299872401268742

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 052023
 


René Magritte Architecture au clair de lune 1956

 

Russian Nuclear Giant Claims Ukrainian Attack On Power Plant Imminent (RT)
Support For Ukrainian Nazis Leaves Indelible Mark In US History – Envoy (TASS)
Ukraine Accuses Western Backers Of Failing To Uphold F-16 Pledge (RT)
Ukraine Wants More Western Jets, Not Just F-16s – Kiev (RT)
US War Industry Pulls Mainstream Media Strings on Ukraine (Sp.)
Hungary Threatens To Block All EU Military Aid To Ukraine (RT)
Biden Pushes For Von Der Leyen To Be NATO Chief (Az.)
Macron Says May Shut Down Social Media in France If Riots Worsen (Sp.)
What Caused Wagner Mutiny And What Now For Russia And Its Opponents? (Ugolny)
China Cancels Visit By EU’s Top Diplomat (RT)
SCO Emerging as Cornerstone of New Multipolar World (Sp.)
The Dystopian European Media Freedom Act is a Trojan horse (Marsden)
Blobocracy (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

One theme only today, really. The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. Will Ukraine/US/NATO bomb it? If so, hold your loves ones near and dear.

 

 

 

 

Free speech
https://twitter.com/i/status/1676355109914308608

 

 

 

 

Trump 4th of July NOTE: No Notes. None

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1676295651313721347

 

 


US Pacific Fleet puts out an Independence Day tweet (since deleted), with Russian aircraft, a Russian ship, and a soldier saluting with his left hand.

 

 

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1676030289238261767

 

 

 

 

JFK Election financing

 

 

Unseen Crisis

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Nuclear Giant Claims Ukrainian Attack On Power Plant Imminent (RT)

Ukraine is expected to launch a large-scale attack on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) overnight, a senior Russian atomic energy industry official warned late on Tuesday. Kiev may also strike the plant with a missile stuffed with radioactive waste, he added. The warning was voiced by Renat Karchaa, a senior aide to the head of Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary to Russia’s state-owned atomic energy giant Rosatom. The official cited intelligence data received by the industry. “On July 5, literally overnight, while it’s still dark, Ukrainian forces will attempt an attack on the Zaporozhye plant with long-range high-precision munitions, as well as suicide drones,” he told Rossiya 24 TV channel. Kiev is also expected to attempt a strike on the plant with a heavy, Soviet-made Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile, Karchaa went on.

The munition has been filled with radioactive waste collected from the South-Ukrainian nuclear power plant, the official claimed. While Karchaa did not elaborate, the apparent goal of the secondary attack is to cause an uptick in radioactivity readings in the region should the main launch fail to damage the facility enough to cause the release of hazardous materials into the air. The ZNPP was seized by Moscow from Ukraine early into the ongoing conflict, getting formally transferred under Rosatom management as the Zaporozhye region became incorporated into Russia after a referendum. Both Moscow and Kiev have repeatedly accused each other of subjecting the Russian-controlled facility to artillery fire and drone strikes. The rhetoric around the plant escalated in recent weeks, with the top Ukrainian official repeatedly claiming Moscow had been preparing a nuclear incident at the ZNPP.

President Vladimir Zelensky, for instance, said Moscow wanted to cause a “radiation leakage” at the plant, while his aide Mikhail Podoliak accused Russia of placing mines in the plant’s cooling pond. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the claims by Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials “yet another lie” coming from Kiev, stressing that Moscow remains in close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UN watchdog’s boss, Rafael Mariano Grossi, visited the facility recently and disputed Ukraine’s allegations, stating in his report that “no mines were observed at the site during the director general’s visit, including the cooling pond.” The danger to the ZNPP has also been questioned by the White House, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying last week that Washington has not “seen any indication that that threat is imminent.”

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July 4th message: “The US is smirched with dishonor..”

Support For Ukrainian Nazis Leaves Indelible Mark In US History – Envoy (TASS)

The US is smirched with dishonour as it blatantly supports the Ukrainian Nazis, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday when commenting on the visit to the United States of representatives of the Azov nationalist battalion (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) and their meetings at the Capitol. “One cannot look indifferently at how the heirs of Hitler and Bandera are honored in the country that contributed to the defeat of the fascist Germany. This is a betrayal of the memory of the Americans who gave their lives during World War II. The blatant support for the Ukrainian Nazis will leave an indelible mark in the American history,” he said.


The Ukrainian terrorists that have committed countless atrocities against the Russian population in Donbas, “make speeches within the walls of the once trustworthy Stanford University” now, the diplomat noted. “The question arises: what vision of the world do they want to instill into young Americans and foreign students, studying here? The duty of humanity is to oppose the glorification of Nazism with all its might. We tirelessly urge Washington to solve this problem. However, in response, we encounter absurd prohibitions even in the run-up to memorable events, such as laying wreaths at the Spirit of the Elbe memorial,” Antonov emphasized.

Ritter

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Spring 2024 at the earliest. There’ll be no young Ukrainians left by then.

Ukraine Accuses Western Backers Of Failing To Uphold F-16 Pledge (RT)

Ukraine was told that its pilots would start training in F-16 fighter jets in June, but the program has not yet been launched, the Ukrainian foreign minister has claimed. “One of the countries,” which is part of the so-called “fighter jet coalition,” promised that the scheme would start last month, Dmitry Kuleba said during a TV appearance on Monday. “The training did not start in June. This means that the schedule is starting to shift… We’re now working with all the parties involved… to speed this process up as much as possible,” he said. According to the minister, the unnamed country “miscalculated” when it made its pledge to Kiev, but is continuing to make preparations for Ukrainian airmen to be trained with the American aircraft.

Kuleba said he was previously expecting to get the F-16s in the first few months of 2024, but the delay in training now means the wait will be longer. Last month, Igor Zhovkva, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, said nine countries – the US, UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and France – had formed a coalition to help Ukraine obtain the warplanes. The chairman of NATO’s military committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, told the British radio station LBC on Monday that the issue of providing F-16s to Ukraine “will not be solved in the short term for this counteroffensive.”

Kiev has intensified its attacks along the frontline with the use Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles since early June, but according to Moscow, the much-hyped counteroffensive has failed to achieve significant gains so far. Zelensky has been pressing his Western backers for fourth-generation F-16 warplanes for months, arguing that they are crucial in providing air cover for Ukraine’s troops and defending its airspace, amid a massive Russian missile campaign targeting military facilities and energy infrastructure. In late May, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley warned that “the F-16 will not act as a magic weapon” in Ukraine, but will “cost a dollar” to Kiev’s backers.

The history of ukraine, from the Big Bang to modern times.
I said yesterday: “Why try to rewrite history? It was the Vikings. No, the Romans…”
This hilarious video takes it a step or two further.

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“..F-16s would not be a game changer since they have inferior capabilities compared to many of Russia’s modern military aircraft..”

Ukraine Wants More Western Jets, Not Just F-16s – Kiev (RT)

F-16 fighter jets promised to Ukraine by its Western backers are not the only military aircraft that Kiev wants, Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesman Yury Ignat said on Tuesday. “Ukraine considers and will consider other aircraft types that could enhance combat capabilities,” Ignat told national broadcasters when asked about Kiev potentially acquiring American-made F/A-18 Hornets from Australia. However, Ukraine cannot exert too much pressure on the US and its allies as it depends on Western aid, he admitted. Ignat said the US-made F/A-18 and F-15, as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon, have a greater range and can carry more weapons. Nonetheless, he stated that Kiev would still focus on acquiring F-16s first, adding that Ukrainian pilots could learn to fly them sooner.

Ukrainian pilots have still not started their F-16 training, the spokesman said, adding that officials in Kiev are “working on the issue every day” by examining bases that are due to serve as training hubs. “The process has been launched,” he told broadcasters, but noted that it has thus far only amounted to “planning.” Kiev will not receive F-16s until the training of pilots and maintenance crews is completed and the relevant infrastructure is prepared, Ignat said, adding that “handing over [the jets] is impossible for now, it will require time.” “We cannot put pressure on our partners, because we depend on their aid,” Ignat stated. None of Ukraine’s foreign backers have spoken about supplying Kiev with Western-made fighter jets other than the F-16 so far.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has criticized Kiev’s backers for what he described as a failure to launch the F-16 training program in time. He did not name the specific nations that had promised to start the training in June, but argued that the pledge itself had been “miscalculated.” “We’re now working with all the parties involved… to speed this process up as much as possible,” Kuleba said. Russia has repeatedly warned that deliveries of increasingly more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine by the US and its allies only prolongs the conflict and could lead to a major escalation. In late May, Bloomberg reported that F-16s would not be a game changer since they have inferior capabilities compared to many of Russia’s modern military aircraft.

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“..it boosts the point of view that the US are the good guys who can end this war, who can bring peace if they only just pour enough weapons in..”

US War Industry Pulls Mainstream Media Strings on Ukraine (Sp.)

It’s no coincidence that American media is unanimously calling to send more military supplies to Kiev and fight to the last Ukrainian, since the debate has been artificially narrowed by the US defense contractors, as per the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft’s recent study. The DC-based think tank has found that of the 15 think tanks most often mentioned by the mainstream press, just one – Human Rights Watch – does not receive funding from the US war industry. Quincy’s analysis particularly demonstrated that the US media were seven times more likely to cite think tanks with ties to defense contractors than those without such affiliations. “There isn’t really an alternative voice in the media when it comes to these issues of war and peace,” Bryce Greene told Sputnik.

“The Beltway is usually on board with the drumbeat of the coverage. And this just shows how much the media relies upon these voices to shape the opinions, to shape the views of their audience. And it’s especially dangerous when you consider that most of these think tanks don’t even tell you how much they’re getting from these corporations. One finding from this study was that these think tanks (…) are not required to report where exactly they get their money from. Anything they give us is really by their goodwill. But very often they don’t tell you which companies are funding exactly how much. They might list some donors, but they don’t give exact figures. So it’s incredibly difficult to track the influence of this.”

Even though the US media is ostensibly independent they still push the government’s line by relying on and uncritically quoting those sources whose paychecks come from the US military-industrial complex, according to Greene. What’s more, the US media never gives a hint that those views come from experts funded by Lockheed Martin, or Boeing or some other defense contractor benefitting from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the journalist continued. Greene lamented the fact that it makes it very hard for a viewer to understand whether or not the information they’re getting is unbiased and untainted by special interests. “Most people know an institution functions on behalf of the people who fund it,” Greene continued. “And the think tanks are working on behalf of the military-industrial complex and therefore the media are laundering the point of view of the military industrial complex in order to present them as independent outside analysis.

The net result of this is that you have almost consistent drumbeat coverage in the US press calling for more weapons, for more intervention, and the US public is foaming at the mouth, waiting for just how many more weapons will it take to defeat Vladimir Putin. (…) We’ve been taught about this war that Vladimir Putin is a new Hitler hell-bent on conquering all of Eastern Europe. Again, this is all just propaganda on top of more propaganda. And it boosts the point of view that the US are the good guys who can end this war, who can bring peace if they only just pour enough weapons in. We only send another few billion dollars. We only send some tanks, some jets, and some high fliers. Everything will be alright in the fight against autocracy.”

Maidan – Road to War (Part 1 of 5, 52 min. Who has the time?)
I suspect the best doc on the origin of what we see today.

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“The minister blasted Ukraine over putting Hungary’s OTP bank on what he called a “list of shame”..”

Hungary Threatens To Block All EU Military Aid To Ukraine (RT)

Hungary will not agree to any further EU financing of arms shipments to Ukraine until Kiev removes the nation’s largest lender from its list of “sponsors of war,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a press conference on Tuesday. The minister blasted Ukraine over putting Hungary’s OTP bank on what he called a “list of shame” by calling the reasons for such a move “outrageous” and “unacceptable.” “Our position is clear: until the OTP [bank] is removed from this list, Hungary will not greenlight any additional EU funding for weapon shipments to Ukraine,” the minister said. The decision will cover not just the €500 million ($546 million) tranche of arms Budapest vetoed earlier but any further military assistance as well, he added. “It will be better if they [the EU] do not come up with any proposals to finance further arms deliveries,” Szijjarto said.

Budapest is “doing everything to help the Ukrainian people,” and Hungarians “are paying the price of a war they have nothing to do with,” Szijjarto said following a meeting of the Hungarian-Jordanian joint economic committee. The official also called Kiev’s attitude toward Hungary puzzling. “We really sometimes have a feeling that they [the Ukrainians] are making fun of us,” he said. The minister also blasted the reasons, for which Ukraine put OTP on its blacklist by saying that “we would like to laugh [at them] because these are ridiculous things that are brought up.” At the same time, he called the situation around the Hungarian bank “serious,” adding that Budapest is “rather horrified” over the development. Hungary blocked the EU military aid tranche for Ukraine back in May, citing Kiev’s increasingly hostile” attitude towards the country.

The money blocked by Budapest was part of the so-called European Peace Facility (EPF). The fund is a €5.6 billion ($6.08 billion) purse that the bloc uses to finance foreign militaries and reimburse its own members who send arms to foreign conflicts. Before the conflict in Ukraine, the ‘Peace Facility’ had been used to supply non-lethal equipment to Georgia, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, and Ukraine, for a total of less than $125 million. Budapest has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and peace deal in Ukraine and criticized the EU for sending arms to Kiev. Hungary also insisted that anti-Russian sanctions hurt Europe more than they hurt Russia. In June, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the German tabloid Bild that a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield was “impossible.”

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EU, NATO, it’s all the same. No knowledge required.

Biden Pushes For Von Der Leyen To Be NATO Chief (Az.)

Joe Biden is pushing for Ursula von der Leyen to be installed as the next Nato secretary general after Ben Wallace’s candidacy was blocked, Report informs, citing The Telegraph. The president of the European Commission was said to be the United States’ preferred candidate after the White House rejected the Defence Secretary for the role. A Nato source said that the US president was attempting to convince Mrs von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, to succeed Mr Stoltenberg amid fears a suitable candidate will not emerge in the next 12 months. “We’re going to have a problem next year when it becomes clear that the field is no stronger than this year,” a second source said. Mr Biden and Mrs von der Leyen have built “a strong bond” in recent years, fostering close transatlantic ties over China, Ukraine and the climate, another source said.

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Stuck in Napoleon days.

Macron Says May Shut Down Social Media in France If Riots Worsen (Sp.)

The French authorities can shut down social networks if the situation in the country deteriorates, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. “We need to think about the issue of social media and applicable bans. And if the situation worsens, we perhaps need to be able to regulate and turn them off,” Macron was quoted as saying by French broadcaster BFMTV. However, the president added that this discussion should not be held “rashly.”On Friday, Macron said that the French authorities would identify those who called for protests through social media in light of the ongoing unrest triggered by the killing of a teenager.


Later that day, French media reported that the government had met with representatives of social media due to unrest in the country. In particular, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Minister Delegate for the Digital Transition and Telecommunications Jean-Noel Barrot reportedly warned platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter of their responsibility and asked for support identifying users involved in committing offenses. France has been gripped by unrest since June 27, when a 17-year-old boy was shot dead by a police officer for failing to stop his car when ordered to do so in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. The officer who pulled the trigger on Nahel M. has been taken into custody for voluntary manslaughter, but that has not deterred the protesters.

Escobar

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“Wagner became the best-known example of Russian stormtroopers. This was largely due to its independent media resources and success..”

What Caused Wagner Mutiny And What Now For Russia And Its Opponents? (Ugolny)

The events instigated by the Wagner private military company (PMC) on June 23-24 were influenced by several military and political factors. Russia’s leadership managed to deal with the mutiny in less than 24 hours. However, the reasons behind the incident still weigh the Russian army down and need to be addressed. In fact, the future of the military campaign in Ukraine depends on how promptly Moscow learns from this experience. To better understand the conflict between Wagner PMC and the Russian Ministry of Defense, we must go back to the events of last year. At that time, the group, which had earlier been involved in combat in both Africa and in the Middle East, was hired to help capture the fortified area of Popasnaya and then Artemovsk (Bakhmut), in the Donbass. The scale of this operation was so large that Wagner essentially became an army corps – a rather autonomous unit with its own infrastructure, command, and tactical direction.

At the same time, the group was considered light infantry. Making use of small assault units like Wagner which were directly backed by artillery, the Russian command wanted to escape dead-end positional warfare. Such tactics were used not only by Wagner but by units like the 1st Donetsk Army Corps. Moreover, the unique experience of assault operations gained in the year of combat resulted in the formation of “Storm Z” assault units that operate with Wagner-like tactics and have a similar structure. However, Wagner became the best-known example of Russian stormtroopers. This was largely due to its independent media resources and success. By the time the battles for Artemovsk ended, Wagner had hopes of acquiring the status of an independent structure within the armed forces, autonomous from the Russian Ministry of Defense and subordinate directly to the President of the Russian Federation.

Internal rivalry became one of the main reasons for the clash between Wagner and the Ministry of Defense. Earlier this year, Wagner was restricted in recruiting volunteers from prisons, who were instead assigned to regular units, including Storm Z. Accordingly, in recent months, Wagner could only rely on normal recruitment offices and was forced to compete for each candidate. Considering the severe fighting in the Artemovsk area, each recruit became priceless. In order to win people over to his side, the company’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin developed the Wagner brandand boosted his media presence. The group was presented as an ideologically like-minded community, a military caste, a corporation with its own values and code of honor.

When he exhausted regular marketing methods, Prigozhin made use of dark PR to win over recruits from his competitor, the Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin’s media outlets presented the regular units of the Russian army as incompetent, bureaucratic structures capable only of retreat. The peak of this dark PR campaign coincided with the last days of the battle for Artemovsk.

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Wait: “Beijing had not confirmed the visit..” In other words, he invited himself.

China Cancels Visit By EU’s Top Diplomat (RT)

China has cancelled a planned visit by the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, a spokesperson for the bloc announced on Tuesday. The diplomat’s trip was reportedly scheduled for next week. “Unfortunately, we were informed by the Chinese counterparts that the envisaged dates next week are no longer possible and we must now look for alternatives,” spokesperson Nabila Massrali told Reuters in a written statement. Beijing had not confirmed the visit and has provided no comment on its apparent cancellation, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stating at a regular press briefing on Tuesday that she did not have any information to share on Borrell’s potential trip.

The visit was announced by the EU’s envoy to China, Jorge Toledo, on the sidelines of the 11th World Peace Forum in Beijing on Sunday. Borrell was to travel to China next Monday, Toledo said, seeking to address all outstanding issues with Beijing, including “partnership,” “competition” and “systemic rivalry.” “This will be the place to raise all these issues, especially the strategic issues that we have with China,” Toledo stated, adding that Borrell was scheduled to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Borrell had been due to visit Beijing in April this year, shortly after EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron toured the country. However, the top diplomat tested positive for coronavirus and the trip was rescheduled.

The top EU diplomat has previously given mixed signals on ties with China, calling it a “rival” but also a partner. He has pointed to two major “strategic security issues” with China – namely its growing alliance with Russia and neutral stance on the Ukraine conflict – and the issue of Taiwan, regarded by Beijing as an integral part of its territory.

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More multipolarity: SCO, BRICS, INSTC etc

SCO Emerging as Cornerstone of New Multipolar World (Sp.)

The twenty-third summit of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO was held on Tuesday in a virtual format in New Delhi. The leaders of all SCO member states – [India], China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – welcomed Iran as a new full-fledged member of the organization. India’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Vinay Kvatra announced that Belarus will be admitted to the SCO as a full member at the summit in 2024. This year, Belarus and Mongolia took part in the meeting as observer states, while Turkmenistan was invited as a guest of the chairman. “In general, today, even without the inclusion of new players in the SCO, [the organization] has already become the most important structure of the world order, of a multifaceted multipolar world,” Dr. Stanislav Pritchin told Sputnik.

“In my opinion, there is a huge potential for creating financial infrastructure, because we all see how the dependence on Western international financial organizations, infrastructure, and the exchange of banking information affects the cooperation of states even within the SCO. (…) We need to create our own infrastructure, our own reserve currencies, regional ones, and create opportunities for trade, regardless of external players. And in this regard, the potential of the SCO, of course, is huge, taking into account the economic potential of China, India, and Russia’s other partners.” Pritchin has drawn attention to the fact that initially, the SCO was formed as a regional security organization being the successor to the Shanghai Five, which was set up in the early 2000s.

Over time, however, the scope of the SCO’s agenda has expanded. Even though the organization includes geopolitical opponents such as India and Pakistan, this did not create any serious problems for the SCO’s activities due to its inclusiveness and flexibility. Pritchin placed special emphasis on an obvious difference between the SCO and NATO whose agenda is formed and dictated by the US. In contrast, the Eurasian club operates on the principles of equality and collegiality, as per the scholar. “When it comes to Iran’s accession to the SCO, the crux of the matter is that Iran has long wanted to join the organization, and only now it has happened,” continued Pritchin. “This is a direct consequence of both Russia’s special military operation [in Ukraine] and the serious deterioration of US-Chinese relations.

Now the countries of the region, the SCO member states, in principle, make decisions without regard for the position and opinion of Western countries. And this shows the subjectivity and independence of this organization. From the point of view of the SCO’s potential, the involvement of Iran is a very important development, because a major power of 80 million people is a serious player in the field of security, our partner in [the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)], in the security system in the Caspian Sea, an important economic partner. In this vein, of course, Iran’s accession is a very important stage in the expansion and strengthening of the SCO, its military and economic potential.”

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“Codifying the most basic rights – like a free press – is a pretty good indication that someone wants to mess with them..”

The Dystopian European Media Freedom Act is a Trojan horse (Marsden)

EU officials are on the verge of approving a new “European Media Freedom Act,” promoted as a new law to protect journalists, their freedom, and press pluralism. However, any thinking person might start by asking how exactly that squares with the bloc’s top-down censorship of voices published on platforms that counter their establishment narratives, like RT for instance. They cite the Ukraine conflict as justification, but they were looking for an excuse long beforehand. Rather than leave it to individual national media regulators to do their job, and cite any specific offenses or evidence, these big fans of free press and democracy at the EU just blocked them unilaterally. So, these same folks are now in the process of fine-tuning a law designed to “promote internal safeguards on editorial independence and media ownership transparency” – which the EU has never been too interested in fostering when it comes to the NGOs and press outlets it supports.

They also plan to introduce measures that include the protection of journalists from spyware. But in even bringing spyware up, there’s now a risk of official codification of its use by governments against journalists in some instances – something which has, until now, been frowned upon. Once again, as with “anti-Russian” sanctions and cutting off its own cheap Russian energy supply, the EU has found a way to really stick it to itself and is on the verge of achieving precisely the opposite of its stated intentions. Governments like France are now reportedly requesting specific, codified exemptions to the state use of surveillance software targeting journalists in cases where they might be dealing with sources or evidence involving “national security” offenses or other heavy crimes that risk bringing down governments like… music piracy.

Right – because “national security” has never been abused as a pretext for Western authorities to protect their own interests from dissent. And we’re talking here about suspected crimes, so is a mere hunch enough to tap a journalist’s phone? The exemption request should also raise eyebrows about what these governments are already doing under the guise of national security to the point where clearly they believe they’re on the verge of losing something. Various French journalists, for example, have taken issue in the past with being spied on by French intelligence or police. And to make it even easier, a French parliamentary commission even voted recently to allow remote activation and geolocation of a target’s tech devices. Revelations about the use of Israeli Pegasus spyware by governments like Morocco to target French journalists raises other potential problems.

For example, what power would the EU even have over foreign countries if, say, an EU member state decided to outsource surveillance to a non-bloc country – let alone ever know which state gave the order to do so? Including any exemptions whatsoever to spyware use by EU member states not only defeats the whole stated purpose of the legislation, but also greatly reduces the chances that sources will talk to or trust the press. It effectively turns every journalist into an inadvertent direct pipeline of information to the authorities – which they may have been before, but now this new law confirms it, serving as a Vegas-style billboard for that fact. Who in their right mind is going to call out wrongdoing by powerful state actors when a murky pretext can theoretically be evoked by the same state to neutralize the whistleblower and their story before it can do any damage to the establishment?

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“It will shrink and desiccate into a fragile little nugget of residual malevolence that can be put down like a small, rabid animal.”

Blobocracy (Jim Kunstler)

By happenstance lately, out and about, I met up with several old friends and attempted to check-in with where they stood on these matters — how are things going in our country? The phrase our country seemed to make their heads snap back a little and their eyes goggle. Their answer, uniformly, was “Trump, Trump, Trump,” issued as a sort of barking. Trump’s criminal insults to democracy must be stopped, was the drift. My next question was: How’s “Joe Biden” doing? (They didn’t see the quote marks, and I didn’t use my fingers to signify.) “He’s doing pretty well… accomplished a lot,” they said. What’d they make of the developing bribery scandal? “Huh… the what?” Raking in all that money from foreign governments when Joe was Veep, and then after. “Oh… right-wing talking points… baseless….”

This is what my old friends think. Quite a few of them are aware that I write this blog. They don’t actually read it; they seem to just hear about it. The old community of Boomer friends thinks I’ve “gone off the deep end.” One thing these encounters taught me is how successful the censorship and propaganda campaign of the Blob has been. These were people, you understand, who came of age believing in free speech, freedom of the press, respecting civil rights, decrying political persecutions, and, most of all, being against hegemonic wars — which, back in the sixties, was called imperialism. These days they’re all for a righteous defense against misinformation that threatens our democracy, meaning: censorship. They wouldn’t call it that, exactly. They consider it a battle against right-wing extremism, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, the usual bugbears. It never occurs to them that the Blob lies to them continually, remorselessly, promiscuously about everything.

They apparently believe what comes out of CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, et cetera. They were told to go get vaxxed. They went and got vaxxed. Some are not looking too good. They don’t seem to know that the vast machinery of public health in our country has been marshalled to do them harm, that the people running that machinery were well-aware that their vaccines did not get properly tested, and the little testing that was done did not turn out very well. Those agencies lied about it and worked strenuously to prevent the duped and vaxxed-up public from learning what had been done to them. What we’ve got, then, this Fourth of July holiday, 2023, is basically the pro-Blob Americans against the anti-Blob Americans. It’s a vicious conflict with no sign of resolution. No amount of factual disclosure — no Durham report, no fruitless Mueller report, not any number of whistleblowers, no alt news — can persuade the pro-Blobbers that their beloved Blob lies and deceives.

And no degree of coercion or punishment will convince the anti-Blobbers to fall into line and just do what they’re told. I think my old friends are insane, and they think the same about me. Everybody knows that the tension building is unendurable, that eventually things will break, and we all worry what kind of country we will have when the breaking ends. I’ll tell you what it will be: it will be a country without a Blob. The Blob thrives on money, and one of the first things to break will be our money and all the operations that generate, multiply, and move it. For years, we anti-Blobbers have been on the receiving end of punishments doled out so liberally by the Blob and its followers. Soon, all the lying, including the lying about our money, will bring on events that’ll deprive the Blob of its nourishment. It will shrink and desiccate into a fragile little nugget of residual malevolence that can be put down like a small, rabid animal.

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SoF
https://twitter.com/i/status/1676271622267830272

 

 

Sound of Freedom

 

 

Steer

 

 

Elephant rhino
https://twitter.com/i/status/1676187618659401728

 

 

Tiny octopus

 

 

 

 

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