Exceptional Powers – Anglo U.S Elite Tyranny VIII

Posted By: Robert Cook January 26th 2024

rj.cookofnorthbucks@btinternet.com

https://www.waterstones.com/author/robert-cook/435753/page/1

March 3rd 2024

Pakistan’s ‘King of Chaos’ Imran Khan keeps winning even behind bars

Pakistan’s recent elections were supposed to bring in a period of stability, badly needed to deal with crippling inflation and bitter political divides in the country, writes author and journalist Mohammed Hanif.

Instead, they delivered a minority government – a shaky, reluctant coalition that looks unsure of its own mandate.

Two weeks after the elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led by Bilawal Bhutto announced that they would form a government but that the PPP wouldn’t be part of it.

The midnight announcement by the leaders of both parties was made in sombre tones and had the air of a shotgun wedding.

Suddenly, Pakistan was that rare democracy where nobody really wanted to be the prime minister.

The “establishment” – a euphemism used by local media for Pakistan’s powerful military – has always believed that general elections are too sensitive an exercise to be left to civilian politicians.

This time around they opened their old election playbook and used every trick deployed successfully in the past.

The main contender Imran Khan was put in jail. He faces more than 150 criminal and civil charges, all of which he denies.

A week before the elections he was sentenced in three cases – in one he was accused of contracting a marriage in a hurry. His party, denied its election symbol and a united platform, were forced to contest as independents.

Nawaz Sharif
Image caption, Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif was widely seen as having the army’s backing

Many were evading police raids instead of campaigning in their constituencies. His main opponents were cleared of many cases against them and given a free hand to campaign.

On election day social media and mobile phone services were shut down, apparently for security concerns but in reality, to ensure that Khan supporters didn’t have easy access to the polling booths and would find it hard to identify their candidates on the ballot paper.

Khan’s supporters showed remarkable ingenuity, formed WhatsApp groups, improvised apps and websites overnight and reached polling booths and managed to find their candidates.

His party used AI-generated speeches to convey the message of their jailed leader. Imran Khan’s prison ID number was turned into an election slogan.

They campaigned guerrilla-style and sprang a surprise on election day.

Despite all the claims of rigging against it, his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) still emerged as the single largest party in the election. The Khan wave on election day was too strong to be reined in by routine rigging.

The establishment used 20th-Century tactics to tame a digital savvy generation – and lost.

To the military’s tried and tested machinations, the voters’ response was polite and defiant: thank you, but no thank you, we are not as ignorant and illiterate as you think we are. We may not be able to take you on in the streets, you have your guns, but here’s our stamp on the ballot. Do what you will with it.

The seasoned agitator

Imran Khan didn’t get a simple majority in parliament, refused to align with any other parties to form the government and decided to sit in opposition.

He has built his campaign and overall charisma by portraying his opponents as corrupt. He is loath to share power with the politicians he has been attacking most of his political career.

Most Pakistani politicians have had to spend time in prison at some point. But no one seems to have had more fun than Imran Khan.

Denied every public platform to reach his supporters, he has pulled off an election victory from his prison cell with communiques sent through his lawyers and close family.

Last May, when Imran Khan was arrested for the first time after his government’s dismissal, his supporters rioted, attacking army cantonments and other symbols of the army’s power and prestige. A senior general’s house was set on fire, and some rioters even managed to enter army headquarters.

A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activist throws back a teargas shell toward police during a protest against the arrest of their leader, in Islamabad on May 10, 2023.
Image caption, Protests broke out after Khan was arrested over corruption allegations

The crackdown that followed was swift and brutal.

Most of the PTI top leadership was abducted and pressured to part ways with Imran Khan – some condemned his politics, others quit politics for life.

The establishment wanted to send out a clear signal that Imran Khan and his party were finished. With Khan in jail, as the election drew closer, the party was taken over by second-tier leadership and local faithfuls who were crucial in organising the battered party’s campaign to victory.

They were certain that their leader would not be allowed to return to power, but they showed through their vote that they wouldn’t abandon him just because the army wanted them to.

Imran Khan, when out of power, is the king of chaos, unleashing his wrath not only on his political opponents but the army establishment as well.

Before he was arrested and put away, Imran Khan claimed in his speeches that he was ousted at the behest of the US for pursuing an independent foreign policy.

His opponents say that all his policies while in power were only about his own ego and whimsy. When in power, they say, he spent more time hounding his opponents than he did running the country. While in government Khan seemed distracted and failed to make timely decisions to rein in runaway inflation.

Even in government he sounded like an opposition politician, raging against his political enemies and the media.

He is a seasoned agitator.

When his party lost the 2013 elections, he campaigned relentlessly to get the results overturned and laid siege to the capital Islamabad. He was able to do it with the establishment’s backing. Now that he is the establishment’s enemy number one he is buoyant after his party’s showing at the polls.

His party has decided to sit in opposition, but Imran Khan likes to play his politics not in parliament but out on the streets, with public rallies and social media. The current government is already being dubbed as a “coalition of losers” – it literally is a coalition of parties that were soundly beaten by Khan in the elections.

Voting in Pakistan
Image caption, The election was marred by the suspension of mobile phone services

For two weeks after the result there didn’t seem to be any enthusiasm to form a government amongst Khan’s opponents.

For the first time, leading politicians instead of laying claim to power were reluctant to accept responsibility.

There’s reluctance to govern because Pakistan faces a crushing debt crisis and rising fuel and food prices have made life unbearable for the working classes. With the army’s increased role in every sphere of governance, ruling politicians are reduced to going around the world asking international donors for bailouts.

Many have speculated if Imran Khan’s time in jail will make him a more mature politician.

It seems unlikely.

He has thrived as a maverick – he will not want to turn into a meek version of himself to become acceptable to the establishment.

His rage against the old political guard has made him the most popular leader in Pakistan.

He wouldn’t want to abandon that to run a country which even his losing opponents seem reluctant to govern.

This is the perfect environment for Imran Khan to continue his crusade, even from his jail cell as the country’s most famous prisoner – number 804.

British-Pakistani author and journalist Mohammed Hanif is the former head of the BBC’s Urdu service, and the author of several plays and novels, including the award-winning A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Our Lady of Alice Bhatti.

Comment Imran Khan was remorved from power in 2022 because he signed a cheap energy deal with Russia. The west needs Pakistan to stay in the religious Dark Ages. Its security services have no problem using the country’s military and rigging elections. Slurs like calling Khan ‘King of Chaos’ are part of the strategy.

R J Cook

Ukraine war: Russia says it intercepts 38 Ukrainian drones attacking Crimea

A series of explosions have rocked Crimea, after a reported Ukrainian drone attack on the peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Video posted online shows a blast allegedly near a fuel depot in the south-eastern city of Feodosiya.

Russian officials said 38 drones had been shot down. The Kerch bridge which connects Crimea with Russia was temporarily closed.

The attack comes as Ukraine continues to urge allies to boost arms supplies.

Russian troops have recently made gains in Ukraine as Kyiv struggles to sustain its forces with Western-made arms. Moscow took control last month of the key eastern town of Avdiivka.

However, according to British military intelligence, this has come at a huge cost. In its latest update, it said February had been the deadliest for the Russians since the start of the full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022 – with 983 killed and wounded per day.

“Today, Russia has highly likely lost over 355,000 personnel killed or wounded during the Ukraine war,” it said. It is not clear how the figure was reached.

Russia does not provide a record of casualties. A few days ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Ukraine had lost 31,000 troops since February 2022.

Russia has not reported any damage from the latest attack on Crimea, although eyewitnesses have reported windows shaking and car alarms going off. Kyiv has not confirmed its forces were involved.

On Saturday, a Russian drone hit a block of flats in the Ukrainian city of Odesa, killing at least 10 people, including three little children.

On Sunday, Russia targeted the southern Kherson region, killing one person and injuring another three, according to Ukrainian officials.

Russian forces have launched thousands of Iranian-made drones at Ukrainian targets since they invaded the country more than two years ago.

In retaliation Ukraine has targeted Russian sites, notably oil facilities.

On Saturday a drone struck a residential building in St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city. About 100 people were evacuated and there were no reports of casualties.

Rescuers remove rubble at a residential building destroyed by a Russian drone in Odesa, on 2 March 2024.
Image caption, Russia has been using Iran-supplied drones as Ukraine suffers from a dwindling of Western arms supplies

With its airbases, troop concentrations, training grounds and the Black Sea fleet, Crimea has been a key target for the Ukrainians.

At one point last year, it was thought that it intended to launch a full-scale attack to retake the peninsula.

In particular, Ukraine has repeatedly hit Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Satellite images last year showed many of the Crimea-based warships had left the peninsula for the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Last month, the Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov was sunk off the coast of Crimea, according to Ukraine’s armed forces.

Its sister ship Novocherkassk was hit while in port in Feodosiya in December last year.

In one of the biggest strikes on the Black Sea fleet, last September Ukraine attacked naval targets and port infrastructure, using as many as 10 missiles and three unmanned boats. It caused a large fire at a Sevastopol shipyard.

Ukraine has also targeted the Kerch bridge several times as it is an important resupply route for Russian forces occupying parts of the country’s south.

Kyiv has repeatedly said it plans to retake Crimea and all territories seized by Russia.

Ukraine is critically dependent on weapons supplies from the US and other Western allies to keep fighting Russia – a much bigger military force with an abundance of arms and artillery.

Ukrainian troops have been running out of ammunition as supporters of former US President Donald Trump in Congress refuse to approve a $61bn (£48bn) military aid package.

March 2nd 2024

Russia Claims German Generals Discussed Blowing Up Crimean Bridge

Russian media on Friday claimed that an alleged leaked audio file contains a recording of German generals discussing the possibility of a strike on the Crimean Bridge.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Kremlin-operated news outlet RT, said she had obtained the file from Russian security officials. Newsweek could not verify the authenticity of the audio or the transcript published on RT.

“We are investigating whether communications in the air force sector were intercepted. The Federal Office for the Military Counterintelligence Service has initiated all necessary measures,” a spokesperson of the German Ministry of Defense told Newsweek. “We cannot say anything about the content of the communications that were apparently intercepted.”

According to RT, the recording lasts for 40 minutes and features a conversation between four high-ranking German officials within the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces. At least two of the individuals were generals, RT alleged.

The Crimean Bridge in 2022
A view taken on October 14, 2022, shows the Crimean Bridge that links Crimea to Russia. Russian media on Friday said a leaked audio file contains a discussion between German military officials about a possible…

Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

Their discussion reportedly included talk about the possibility of bombing the Crimean Bridge. Also called Kerch Strait Bridge or Kerch Bridge, the structure connects Russia’s Krasnodar region with Crimea, a peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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A man identified by RT as a German Air Force commander allegedly spoke about how Ukraine’s armed forces want to “destroy the bridge … because it has not only military strategic importance, but also political significance.”

The men allegedly debated whether Germany’s long-range Taurus missiles would be powerful enough to successfully take out the bridge.

Elsewhere in RT’s transcript, the officials allegedly talked about the efficiency of the cruise missile known as “Storm Shadow” in the United Kingdom and “SCALP” in France. Kyiv has been provided a number of these missiles from Western nations to aid in its defenses from the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin a little over two years ago.

RT wrote that the German officials also talked about how they could deny direct involvement in an attack against Russian targets, an action that the Kremlin has said would cross a “red line” and result in an escalation of the conflict.

One of the alleged “tricks” that RT said the officials suggested was dressing in civilians clothes and speaking with an American accent during a potential attack.

Read more

Comment I cannot see how Nuclear War can be avoided. Anglo U.S NATO created this situation as part of a long game including using the likes of Navalny and Litvinenko to subvert the Putin regime. Cries of election rigging do not wash with me. One only has to look at the war against Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump, to name only two, tells all about western style democracy.

If Navalny matters so much, as a matter of democratic principle, then why hasn’t the U.K ‘democratic( sic )’ government freed Julian Assange ? More importantly, why was he jailed in the first place on fabricated rape allegations? Britain has an appalling human rights record as its history in Ireland attests, let alone the greater British Empire which enriched so many including the parasitical out of touch ‘mouthy’ British Monarchy.

Meally mouthed but obviously nervous U.K warmongering smirking PM Sunak’s panic stricken Downing Street message to his people, yesterday, reflected the alarming intelligence he has been fed by intelligence officers infiltrating fringe politcal groups, phone tapping and internet monitoring. The global rich elite have never been richer. George Galloway’s victory, which they did not see coming, was a very loud alarm bell. The much vaunted and admired diverse masses have never been poorer. The ‘Cost of War Crisis’ is making matters worse. Fortunately the masses are slow, if even capable, at making connections.

So far, ‘Biden & The West good, Putin Evil’ has worked. But will Britain’s multicultural message to the world survive the reality of conscription? Will the multiplying ethnic minority males and LGBTQI sink their differences to join a military regime that will see at least half of them massacred, if the record in Ukraine and Gaza so far is anything to go by? Is dying for Frankenstein so called western democratic nations really worth the ultimate sacrifice? I don’t thinks so. But I am not quite brain dead – yet, in spite of the UK Police’s best efforts.

R J Cook

UK slams Scholz over claims Britain, France are helping Ukraine target missiles

German chancellor faces blowback after he said Paris and London are aiding in “target control.”

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G7 Announce Joint Declaration Of Support For Ukraine
Chancellor Scholz has also seen blowback in Germany over the refusal to budge on giving Ukraine Taurus missiles | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

February 29, 2024 3:52 pm CET

By Joshua Posaner, Laura Kayali and Henry Donovan

BERLIN — An inference by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that British and French personnel are operating cruise missiles donated to Ukraine is “wrong, irresponsible and a slap in the face to allies,” the chair of the U.K. parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Alicia Kearns said Thursday.

Speaking to journalists in Berlin earlier this week, Scholz justified his continued refusal to send Germany’s Taurus long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine by saying it could require German troops in Ukraine to program them.

That would — in Scholz’s view — make Germany an active participant in the conflict.

“This is a very far-reaching weapon,” Scholz said of the Taurus. “And what the British and French are doing in terms of target control and support for target control cannot be done in Germany.”

Taurus missiles have a powerful warhead that can destroy reinforced targets or infrastructure such as bridges and reach deep behind enemy lines, something Kyiv is desperately asking for.

Last year, the U.K. government confirmed that it had sent long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, with France — which calls its version of the same missiles SCALP — following shortly afterward.

Responding to the comments, the U.K.’s ex-Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who sent the Storm Shadows, said Scholz was “the wrong man, in the wrong job at the wrong time.”

While U.K. officials have previously called for some instructors to be posted in Ukraine on a limited basis, officially London is clear that Kyiv is in charge of operating the missiles.

“Ukraine’s use of Storm Shadow and its targeting processes are the business of the armed forces of Ukraine and has successfully put pressure on Russian forces,” said a spokesperson for the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.

While there was anger in London, Paris was calmer about Scholz’s comments despite broader friction between France and Germany over arming Ukraine. The government had no official comment, but MP Benjamin Haddad from President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party tweeted that the chancellor’s comments created a “diplomatic crisis” with London. “Berlin is very isolated,” he added.

“Looks like Scholz cares as little (or even less) for his U.K. allies as he does for the French. Silver lining nonetheless: he’s unwittingly helping to break the taboo on the presence of NATO-member forces in Ukraine,” tweeted François Heisbourg, a senior adviser with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Scholz has also seen blowback at home — including from within his governing coalition — over the refusal to budge on giving Ukraine Taurus missiles.

Michael Roth, who heads the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and hails from Scholz’s Social Democrats, said he regretted the war of words and called for renewed focus between Berlin, Paris and London on responding to Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

“Our unity has been our strongest asset against Putin so far,” the former Europe minister said.

But the real dismay is in London.

“We gave Storm Shadow, we all have to give what we can. Scholz should give Taurus and stop holding back the security of Europe,” said Kearns.

Comment The U.K ( AKA Britain ) and U.S.A have led the NATO proxy war on Russia since 2014, opening media proceedings in 2022 with Churchill fantasist Boris Johnson pledging U.K support to the bitter end. The last two world wars were triggered by U.K imperialism that made sure Germany was humiliated in 1919. That backfired then and will do so again. Every time, this elite and their media hide behind claims to be in a war for freedom, humanitarianism and democracy against alleged Russian tyranny.

Nostalgia TV Channels are pumping out the old war films to whip up the nation’s famous toxic masculinity and privileged white males into war frenzy, ready for conscription and death for the ruling rich. We live in a very sick and corrupt western police state tyranny. When are they going to release Julian Assange ?

R J Cook

UK Is Pushing Germany to Send Taurus Missiles to Ukraine

Alex Wickham and Michael Nienaber, Bloomberg News

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, left, greets Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, left, greets Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. , Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The UK government has privately urged Germany to provide long-range Taurus missiles to the government in Kyiv as London expressed irritation over comments made by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about British activity in Ukraine.

Senior British ministers and officials have repeatedly made clear to Germany that Ukraine badly needs its Taurus missiles, according to people familiar with the matter. The UK offered solutions to Berlin’s resistance to sending them, including a swap deal that would see Britain supply Kyiv with more of its own Storm Shadow missiles, and Germany then restock the UK with replacement long-range missiles. 

Germany should stop making excuses, said one British official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations between the countries.

“Scholz’s behavior has showed that as far as the security of Europe goes he is the wrong man, in the wrong job, at the wrong time,” former Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the Evening Standard newspaper on Thursday.

Scholz this week ruled out sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, arguing it would mean Germany would become a party to the war with Russia. 

At a town hall meeting with citizens in Dresden on Thursday, Scholz explained his reasoning that Germany could not give Ukraine “a weapon with a range of 500km (310 miles) that, if used incorrectly, could reach a target in Moscow.” He added: “We have to make sure that we know where it will land,” suggesting the only way to do that would be to have German troops assisting with target-control.

That speaks to a wider argument that has developed between the UK and Germany over Scholz’s apparent reference this week to British and French troops assisting Ukrainians with the operation of long-range weapons systems against Russian targets. 

“What the British and French are doing in terms of target control and accompanying target control cannot be done in Germany,” Scholz said on Monday.

Those remarks have been seen by some British lawmakers as Scholz publicly commenting on the classified activities of UK soldiers in Ukraine. A “small number of personnel” are “supporting the armed forces of Ukraine,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman Dave Pares said on Tuesday, offering no details. 

“Scholz’s comments are wrong, irresponsible and a slap in the face to allies,” Alicia Kearns, chair of the UK’s foreign affairs select committee, said in a post on the social media site X. “Scholz should give Taurus and stop holding back the security of Europe.”

Nils Schmid, a senior lawmaker from Scholz’s Social Democratic Party who sits on the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said the chancellor’s remarks on British activity in Ukraine had only referred to “publicly available arguments.” 

The reaction of “some British Conservative politicians is completely exaggerated,” Schmid told Bloomberg, calling the matter “an artificially manufactured furor that distracts from the real issue” of ammunition for Ukraine. 

“In substance, the cooperation between the British and German governments in support of Ukraine has been very good” since the war began, he said.

–With assistance from Iain Rogers, Arne Delfs and Patrick Donahue.

(Updates with comments from German lawmaker from 11th paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

Politics

Comment The U.K ruling elite’s Ministry of Defence ( sic ) are so into this NATO proxy war on Russia that they want to squander another £3.2 billion of their taxpayer’s money. It is noteworthy that the U.K’s poorest 20% pay 40 % of the taxes.

R J Cook

March 1st 2024

Ukrainian youth speak on 10 years of the 2014 coup in Kiev

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the 2014 coup in Kiev, the WSWS spoke with youth in Ukraine, whose experiences belie the propaganda in the media.

Read more

10 years since the far-right coup in Kiev

This article, which draws the political lessons of the 2014 far-right coup in Kiev, was submitted to the WSWS by a socialist from Ukraine living abroad.

Read more

Mobilize the working class against NATO’s plan to deploy troops in Ukraine!

NATO alliance has taken a decision for war with Russia. That is western style democracy..

French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement Monday that sending European troops to Ukraine is “not ruled out” shows that the NATO alliance has taken a decision for war with Russia.

Read more

February 28th 2024

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right – By R J Cook

Navalny’s widow displayed an Oscar worthy performance at EU HQ in Brussels today. Her audience lapped up what was surely a professionally written speech. In this she called Vladimir Putin a gangster. This kind of name calling is judged sufficient to arouse Europe’s ignorant dumbed down rabble and the rampant feminists who need more soldiers dying to keep them safe.

Navalmy’s widow appealing to the EU for more westerm support in a war against Russia,which must be won. Russia sees where this is going,making nuclear warfare ever more likely.

A frequent label for Putin from the U.K mainstream media is ‘Hitler.’ Former army officer and Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has called Putin “more dangerous than Stalin.” Stalin as educated Europeans should know, appeased Hitler until Europe’s fascists reneged on a treaty and invaded Russia in 1940, chose appeasement. Then they went on to be Hitler’s true conquerors. Those facts have to be forgotten and written out of history.

Obviously Ukraine joining the EU with NATO protection is a sexy proposition for East Europe’s young and a gravy train for its corrupt political class of greedy parasites. The west is all about greed and corruption. As my late father drummed into me as a child, “Two wrongs do not make a right.” So it isn’t relevant to the current NATO proxy war on Russia as to whether or not the west are a lesser of two evils – if there can be such a thing.

My years of experience and my considerable studies leave me in no doubt that the U.K , U.S.A and E.U are seriously institutionally corrupt with the U.K setting the standard as a police state. It is significant that U.K mainstream media devoted so much time to posturing widow Navalnaya while Julian Assange is forgotten except for cursory coverage of his fight against extradition to the U.S.A where he will be privately crucified.

But this appalling global situation cannot be resolved by reason. The NATO Ukraine proxy war on Russia is about the final leg of regime change New World Order. The threat has driven Russia and China closer together while the greedy west expects us to forget the latter’s key role in the global economy – 40% of manufactured goods are Chinese. Obviously western agents are doing their best to undermine this key supplier. Hence the CIA stirring it up in Taiwan. Then there are the current war games and shipping issues in the Middle East. Consequently Russia has moved in as it has in certain African nations. This is a volatile situation to say the least.

So we come to the key component of international global financial interests. Western Bankers have a lot riding on reconstructing Ukraine after western weapons industries have made record profits supplying the means to fight Russia and destroy their land. Banks have made deals with Zelensky and big investment plans. Ukraine is already mortgaged to the west. So if Russia were allowed to fight what is left of Ukraine’s armed forces alone, then Ukraine will lose. If they lose there will be a major western banking crisis and international trade depression.

Anglo U.S NATO have been betting on a boom from their nasty proxy war. An obvious clue to their priorities, even if reneging on the Minsk Agreements is too abstract for the moronic masses, came with Biden and disgraced war mongering U.K Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when they concurred that Nordstream 2 was never going to come on line. Next came the sabotage. The way was cleared for U.S LNG ( Liquefied Natural Gas ) all in the name of freedom and democracy. Meanwhile,Ukraine’s population has dropped from 43 million to 37 million and the country is under Martial Law.

EU Audience laps up Navalny’s Oscar worthy performance calling for more suppport for Uktaine’s War for ‘freedom & democracy'( sic ).

R J Cook

Allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned French President Emmanuel Macron that any troops he sends to Ukraine would meet the same end as Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armee whose 1812 invasion of Russia ended in death and defeat.

Feb 28 (Reuters) – Allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned French President Emmanuel Macron that any troops he sends to Ukraine would meet the same end as Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armee whose 1812 invasion of Russia ended in death and defeat.

Macron opened the door on Monday to European nations sending troops to Ukraine, although he cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage.

His comments prompted a slew of other Western countries, including the United States and Britain, to say they had no such plans, while the Kremlin warned that conflict between Russia and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would be inevitable if European members of NATO sent troops to fight in Ukraine.

February 27th 2024

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch !

“Sham paternity is about allowing people who actually have no prospects of staying in Germany to stay in Germany. These people are willing to pay money for this, usually to the person who takes on the fictitious paternity.” Read more…
Although the protest may be a warning shot for now, any potentially longer protest represents a major economic threat. Read more…
“The bottom line is that Russia was deceived into believing that NATO would not expand further eastwards.” Read more…
This is not the first case involving Afghan migrants and a high-profile murder or set of murders. Read more…

Macron says Russian defeat in Ukraine vital for security in Europe

Related Topics

A Ukrainian soldier fires an artillery shell. File photo
Image caption, Ukraine says its forces are currently outgunned by Russian troops, asking allies for urgent weapons supplies

By Jaroslav Lukiv

BBC News

French President Emmanuel Macron has said it is key for Europe’s security to defeat Russia in Ukraine, amid urgent pleas for more weapons from Kyiv.

He was speaking in Paris where he said that European leaders had agreed to set up a coalition to give Ukraine medium- and long-range missiles and bombs.

He added that there was “no consensus” on sending Western troops to Ukraine but “nothing should be excluded”.

Russian troops made recent gains in Ukraine which faces big arms shortages.

Kyiv is critically dependent on modern armoury supplies from its Western allies, particularly the US, to be able to continue fighting Russia – a far bigger military force with an abundance of artillery ammunition.

But the approval of a much needed $95bn (£75bn) US aid package – including $61bn for Ukraine – faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives.

Last weekend, Ukraine’s defence minister said half of all Western aid for Kyiv had been delayed, costing lives and territory.

On Friday, Hungary blocked a statement sent to EU member countries by the European Council President Charles Michel, pledging “unwavering” support for Ukraine.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban – the only EU leader who maintains warm relations with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – has been repeatedly at odds with the bloc over measures to help Kyiv since Russia’s invasion.

On Tuesday, Hungary’s foreign minister reiterated that Budapest is not willing to send weapons or troops to Ukraine.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-68410219

Paris war summit prepares for direct deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine

Facing the imminent collapse of NATO’s Ukrainian proxy forces amid massive losses, the Paris summit was called to lay the groundwork for the introduction of troops from NATO and EU member countries to fight Russia in Ukraine.

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February 26th 2024

First M1 Abrams Tank Destroyed In Ukraine—Social Media Reacted

Peter Suciu

Saturday marked the two-year anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked ( sic ) invasion of Ukraine. The somber anniversary came just days after the Kremlin’s forces captured the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine. It was on Monday that Russian forces also claimed to have successfully destroyed the first U.S.-supplied M1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) outside the besieged city.

Russian propagandists were quick to take to social media to share video of the tank’s destruction, as it came under attack from units of the 15th Motorized Rifle Brigade from Samara. A so-called “kamikaze drone” or other form of “loitering munition” successfully targeted the MBT—and that point that was further noted due to the relatively low cost of the unmanned aerial system compared to the vehicle it destroyed.

Slovak PM says EU, NATO members weighing sending troops to Ukraine

Statement preceded a Paris conference on the war in Ukraine.

February 26, 2024 9:23 pm CET

By Sejla Ahmatovic

Several EU and NATO members are considering military deployments to Ukraine, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico claimed on Monday.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU and NATO national leaders in Paris on Monday to debate collective Western strategy on Ukraine, Fico cited a “restricted document” listing topics to be discussed in Paris that “sends shivers down your spine.”

“These topics,” he said, “imply that a number of NATO and EU member states are considering sending troops to Ukraine on a bilateral basis.”

“I can’t say for what purpose or what they would do there.”

According to Fico, the war in Ukraine is not going as expected: “This [Paris] meeting is confirmation that the Ukraine strategy of the West has completely failed,” he said, without providing details.

Speaking following a meeting of Slovakia’s security council and cabinet on Monday morning, Fico said such plans risked escalating the Ukraine war, and stressed that Slovakia would not participate.

The Russia-friendly Slovak leader has previously come under fire for his pro-Moscow stances, saying in January for example that the only way to stop the war in Ukraine was for Kyiv to give up some of its territory.

Czech PM Petr Fiala, who is also due to attend the Paris meeting, disavowed Fico’s statement: “The Czech Republic certainly is not preparing to send any soldiers to Ukraine, nobody has to worry about that.”

POLITICO contacted the NATO and EU press offices for comment, but received no response.

Comment It seems inevitable that Anglo U.S led NATO will do something insane as Ukriane’s current position is untenable. This is in spite of massive NATO support including covert forces at their taxpayer’s expense and consequent so called ‘cost of living crisis’. G7 has pledged, at their Paris meeting, to sustain Ukraine for as long as it takes. Logically they anticipate Russia having no choice but aim for Zelsnsky’s bastion so want to be there when Putin’s troops arrive. They will do all they have to in protecting the corrupt Uktaine regime. Birds of a feather etc.

R J Cook

The POWERFUL GLOBAL RULING ELITE NEED SCAPEGOATS. THEY ALWAYS HAVE. R J Cook

These people are not like Hitler, but like Hitler & The Nazis, they are an outcome of their voices being ignored, shouted down with slander and shut out of the so called democratic system by libel, slander and corrupt practice. The reality of Western Style Democracy is that the minion electors are free to choose from an approved list and vote for parties and candidates already chosen for them by the ruling elite and their mainstream media consensus
That consensus includes accepting the likelihood of war, mass male conscription into the front line, all for the sake of ever expanding elite privilege – whatever the cost. Female politicians are expected to be equally vain, stupid, mindlessly power mad, hypocritical and as greedy as their male counterparts, permanently distracted by the feminsist war on men, on the look out for sex change rapists in public toilets, ever vigilant for signs of sexism and abuse. They are not expected to see the bigger picture. That is why they are there, to obscure it .
R J Cook

Europe may be getting some new “girl bosses,” Poland loses another big investor, and Assange verdict due in UK soon…

Prefer to read this email in your browser? Click here! “We have discussed a number of policy issues and found that we are looking for the same solutions to the main problems of our time.” Read more…

Comment There have never been so many empowered women in modern times or so much terrifying conflict, division and hate across a world boasting goals of inclusion and diversity.

R J Cook

Anglo Saxon’s progressive farming techniques have benefitted the White World and its empires for centuries. But now its methods are not compatible with the Third World, Middle Eastern and Asian population explosion, mass Europe & U.K bound immigration with associated deforestation. Europe’s masses and farmers must adjust to new food solutions in a Europe it increasingly shares with etnically & cultirally diverse Third World newcomers. It is all in the ludicrous name of protecting the environment. The authorities never mention the massive carbon foot print of World War Three.

The POWERFUL GLOBAL RULING ELITE NEED SCAPEGOATS. THEY ALWAYS HAVE. R J Cook
Without farmers, we would have hyperinflation, poverty, unemployment, and no security. Read more…

More On The Road To World War Three Hell

New York Times report demolishes the narrative of the “unprovoked war” in Ukraine

Over the weekend the New York Times published a lengthy article revealing that the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 was instigated by a systematic and widespread campaign of military-intelligence aggression by the United States.

Read more

Nearly two years after Sweden applied to join NATO, the final piece of the puzzle will fall into place today when Hungary’s parliament ratifies the Nordic country’s accession.

Bringing Sweden into the fold will add naval capabilities in the Baltic Sea and modern fighters that can help patrol the Arctic. It will also make it easier to transfer troops and equipment to the alliance’s eastern flank.

Stretching some 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from north to south, Sweden would be a crucial transit country for reinforcements to the Baltic nations and Finland if Russia attacked.

February 24th 2024

Death. On January 12, 2

2 years of the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine

The imperialist governments have not a shred of concern for “democracy” in Ukraine. In reality, they intend to bring Ukraine into their sphere of influence as part of their drive to carve up the Russian Federation, seize its natural resources, and thereby prepare for military conflict with China.

Read more

024, Gonzalo Lira Sr., Lira’s father, reported that his son had died in a Ukrainian prison at the age of 55. This was confirmed by the United States Department of State and Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His cause of death was reported to be pneumonia.

Tucker Carlson reports on death of American reporter in Ukrainian custody

Gonzalo Lira was in prison because of criticism of the governments of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and US President Joe Biden, the TV presenter said

NEW YORK, January 12. /TASS/. Reporter Gonzalo Lira, a citizen of Chile and the US, who was detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), has died in prison, US journalist Tucker Carlson said, citing Lira’s father.

“Gonzalo Lira, Sr. says his son has died at 55 in a Ukrainian prison, where he was being held for the crime of criticizing the Zelensky and Biden governments,” Carlson wrote on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter).

He added that despite Lira’s American citizenship, the US administration “clearly supported his imprisonment and torture.”

On Saturday, US entrepreneur Elon Musk addressed Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, asking him to explain Lira’s arrest and incarceration. Musk voiced his opinion on the issue following Carlson’s post on the X platform asserting that Lira was being “tortured in a Ukrainian prison since July, for the crime of criticizing Zelensky.”

In the spring, Russia urged the global journalist community to speak out in defense of Lira, who was abducted by the SBU, and demand his immediate release. The blogger was detained by the SBU in Kharkov in May. He was accused of supporting Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

The SBU insists that the journalist was arrested and given bail but after paying it Lira violated the law and purportedly attempted to flee the country on his own motorcycle via a checkpoint on the border with Hungary. According to the latest data, Lira was at a pre-trial detention facility in the city of Kharkov awaiting trial.

Comment This is absolute proof that there is a double standard when the west reports its ‘unspun news’ for the masses. So those masses suck up the drivel about Navalny’s death. Navalny was obviously a western agent. NATO has been exposed for already having a range of troops on the ground in Ukraine. There is no limit to what NATO will do to protect its’ big egos and international business interests – including conscription of the lower class men and nuclear war if necessary.

NATO undoubtedly provoked this war and its consequences, including Russian ally Iran’s role in the Israel nightmare. Anglo U.S led NATO have had a big problem with Russia’s growing involvement in the Middle East and the global south. Russia also had to put up with being made a scapegoat for the corrupt money driven drug powered world of international athletics.

Britain had its share of drug suspects in that regard but it has excpetional power status. Anglo U.S led NATO has worked hard to make Russia a pariah. Western agent Navalny was crucial in undermining Russian morale to promote regime change. He is worth even more to the cause dead, which is why Joe Biden – the kindly old man who must not be prosecuted for stashing a way classified documents in his massive garage at home – was seen enjoying a photo opportunity hugging Navalny’s widow.

R J Cook

February 23rd 2024

The Assange case and the working class

The forces arranged against Assange are powerful. But there is another, even more formidable force which has yet to have its say—the British, American and international working class.

Read more

Biden White House prepares Trump-style anti-immigrant executive order barring asylum claims

Multiple media outlets reported that President Joe Biden is considering using the same law employed by the Trump administration, 212(f) of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, to block virtually all asylum claims to the US.

Read more

February 22nd 2024

Julian Assange’s extradition hearing ended yesterday. Assange was seeking permission to appeal his extradition from the UK to the US on espionage charges. For those that don’t know, this all relates to Julian’s WikiLeaks releasing leaked documents which embarrassed the US. They showed that torture had become routine and institutionalised during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He also released videos, including the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ recording of Apache helicopter crews firing on and killing civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

However, Julian himself said that the revelations above are not what annoyed the Americans. It was not until he exposed the CIA’s secret spying techniques that they got really mad. The Vault 7 documents exposed the CIA’s capabilities to compromise “cars, smart TVs, web browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Opera, the operating systems of most smartphones including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and computer operating systems including Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.

Vault 7 revelations are probably not a surprise to most who read this newsletter but it confirmed the speculations. As a result, the CIA redefined WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service”, which raised some eyebrows.

During the hearing, Assange’s lawyers argued that the UK/US Extradition Treaty explicitly excludes extradition on political grounds. Furthermore:

The Wikileaks revelations had revealed serious state illegality by the government of the United States, up to and including war crimes. It was therefore protected speech.

Article III and Article VII of the ECHR were also engaged because in 2010 Assange could not possibly have predicted a prosecution under the Espionage Act, as this had never been done before despite a long history in the USA of reporters publishing classified information in national security journalism. The “offence” was therefore unforeseeable. Assange was being “Prosecuted for engaging in the normal journalistic practice of obtaining and publishing classified information”.

Whilst there is a lot of coverage of Assange’s hearing, let’s not forget that the country he may be extradited to, actually plotted to assassinate him. This was even brought up in the hearing with the prosecution arguing that the CIA plans to kill Assange should not be admissible in court.

In 2021, Yahoo News reported that “some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries”.”

“Mike Pompeo was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange…Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood”.

“It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally.”

To be fair to the MSM, this was a Yahoo News scoop and was reported on by other outlets such as the Guardian.

Unfortunately, the only mention of it on the BBC was on BBC Somali!

JULIAN ASSANGE
Why even Julian Assange’s critics should defend him The WikiLeaks founder must not be extradited
THOMAS FAZI    7 MINS
Assange is a hero. Navalny was not. How interesting how differently mainstream media treats the pair of them.

As global war intensifies, world economy moving to slump

The worsening global economic outlook was highlighted last week by data which showed that both the UK and Japan had experienced two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the second half of 2023.

Read more

US vows to veto ceasefire resolution as Israel’s Rafah onslaught looms

The Biden administration is both providing political protection and supplying the weapons required for Israel’s campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Read more

Democrat wins special election for Congress running right wing, anti-immigrant campaign

The victory by Tom Suozzi in the district previously held by corrupt Republican George Santos cuts the Republican margin in the House to only two votes.

Read more

Berlin recall election: The decline of the SPD

The massive loss of votes by the Social Democrats is the just deserts for their right-wing policies of military rearmament, war, xenophobia and social cutbacks.

Read more

Peradeniya University students in Sri Lanka discuss the contemporary relevance of the Communist Manifesto

“The concepts presented in the Communist Manifesto, that ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,’ showed me a new direction.”—Hiruni

Read more

Australian government imprisons more refugees on Nauru

Labor’s anti-refugee crackdown renews the role played by successive Australian governments since the 1990s in setting global precedents for governments to shut their borders.

Read more

February 21st 2024

Things You Won’t Read About Navalny in the Mainstream Press

Alexei Navalny Died in an Artic Penal Colony on Friday

NE – nakedemperor.substack.com

20 Feb 2024

On Friday 16 February, it was announced that Alexei Navalny had died in a Siberian prison after going for a walk and feeling unwell. Apparently, paramedics rushed to the scene and tried to revive him for 30 minutes before confirming his death. Cause of death is still unknown although it has been reported that his body was noticeably bruised. Navalany’s mother has been told she must wait 14 days whilst the authorities conduct a chemical examination.

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via video link from the IK-2 corrective penal colony in Pokrov before a court hearing to consider an appeal against his prison sentence, in Moscow, Russia May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

Within hours of his death, Western leaders supposedly knew exactly what had been done and by whom. Putin of course. Even though the Americans still can’t work out what happened to Epstein in an American prison, Biden knew exactly what had happened in the middle of Siberia. “Make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death”, he declared.

Ursula von der Leyen and Kamal Harris were among other Western leaders reading from the same ‘Putin did it’ script.

Image

It very much followed the Nordstream 2 pipe line explosion script. Within minutes of it happening and with absolutely no evidence, it was Putin who did it. Almost a year and a half later, we are still none the wiser, which indicates that it wasn’t Putin. If it was then the evidence would be displayed on the front page of every newspaper for days. The silence is deafening and asking cui bono? suggests that the Americans did it, as they have massively profited both from a continuing war and from sales of LNG.

Although Putin hatred is probably greater than Trump hatred at the moment, some Democrats couldn’t help blame Trump for Navalny’s death. Ted Lieu on MSNBC asserted that “We had former president Donald Trump essentially say that Russia should attack NATO countries…They thought, “Hey, we now have a green light to do all sorts of crazy stuff”.” Nikki Haley said Trump must answer for his death.

Trump reflected on Navalny’s death by posting “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our country”. Cryptic!

Some Eastern European countries weren’t as convinced as everyone else as to whether Putin was the culprit or not. According to reports, Vice Speaker of the Slovak Parliament, Luboš Blaha said “It’s sad, of course, that the man died, but it’s strange that the whole West is now cheerfully promoting conspiracy theories here, and his death has not even been investigated. Putin definitely didn’t need his death, Navalny would have had to spend the next decades in prison and he didn’t threaten anyone politically. According to officials, the cause of his death was a blood clot. We don’t know anything else, the case is being investigated, everything else is conspiracies”.

And he’s right. It is sad that Navalny died, he was a husband, son and a father but the immediate shrieking that Putin did it, hints at something being up. What benefit does Putin get from taking out a man who he had neutralised and had largely been forgotten about? He didn’t constitute a real threat to Putin’s leadership in the middle of Siberia. Of course, Putin is renowned for playing 4D chess, so we can never dismiss that he ordered Navalny’s death, but what the Western media fails to do is explore other options.

February 18th 2024

On The Right Side by R J Cook

Western media is making the most of Navalny’s death, whipping up more support for the NATO proxy war on Russia. Over here in the U.K it is more than acceptable to call war crimes whistle blower Julian Assange a traitor. After years of political asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, the U.S backed a coup in Ecuador supporting a U.S friendly government to have Assange extradited.

The U.K government, who had backed the lie that Assange was a wanted rapist, gave full support and have had him on remand ever since. Navalny was not a whistle blower. He was an agent for western propaganda. In short, he was being groomed as a puppet replacement for alcoholic Boris Yeltsin. This was a role Vladimir Putin rejected, quite rightly in my view. Yeltsin had opened Russia up for rape and asset stripping. He made way for the oligarchs. This was not good for the country’s sprawling masses or the country’s future. But as with media images of the United States, only the comfortable westernised Russian professional classes feature on our televisions. As under Yeltsin’s puppet regime, these modernists want more and more pleasure.

The west makes much of its claim to democratic excellence. In practice this means having the right to endorse one of a maximum of two elite approved candidates, representing their consensus on acceptable political parameters. As we see with Hilary Clinton and company, it was laudable for them to condemn Donald Trump’s Presidential victory in 2016, with George Soros supporting feminist protests. Throughout Trump’s four year term, Democrats and mainstream liberal elite media obstructed his government with vile attacks on his honesty, sex life and patriotism. His detractors inevitably played the race card.

So when Trump raised suspicions about the veracity and propriety of the 2020 election, the foundations were laid for the current charge of treason. This was because apparently disgruntled Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building. The media has no evidence that Trump had anything to do with these so called riots, while never mentioning that doors were being thrown open from the inside, that night, and FBI agents seen close by.

Now we have Germany and the EU lining up to ban the AFD because their party name offers an alternative. In western style democracies there must never be an alternative to the elite’s consensus. The AFD, like the English Defence League ( EDL ) are not allowed an opinion on mass immigration, legal or not. The global wealthy western elite don’t want an alternative to themselves. They want worldwide cheap labour and cheap Third World resources. The Russia the western elite want will be as corrupt, degenerate, greedy, polluting, hypocritical and planet eating as the west. Elite media is doing the ground work very well. They will never talk about Ukraine’s genocide of ethnic Russians in the Donbas or the deliberately dishonest Minsk Agreement.

The terrifying thing is that the Anglo U.S NATO elite will never back down. As Joe Biden said “The war in Ukraine is a good investment.”. Biden’s family have profited massively from war in Ukraine, as have U.S and other western arms dealers and weapons makers. These vested interests have too much at stake and there is no way NATO’s arrogant elite can back down.

With Russia facing the western moral army and Republicans, including Trump, being accused of having blood on their hands, Russia is being backed into a very dangerous corner. It would not be quite so dangerous if U.S and the west did have right on their side. They don’t and Putin knows this. The balance of power has been seriously disrupted by the Anglo U.S global power grab. Syria has been a major cause for Anglo U.S concern. The Houthis and Hamas are in a powerful position. It is not coincidental with the war in Gaza. I have just heard a very stupd BBC female panelist calling the Houthi situation a stalemate. It is anything but. The Houthis are a compment in what is World War Three. Comfortable upper middle class media folk live in a bubble. Unfortunately their opinions count. They police the airwaves.

Here in the U.K, the BBC is brazenly stirring up dissent in Russia and promoting protest against the government. As I write, a female BBC news presenter is interviewing a Russian exile Pussy Riot protestor. The message is that Russia is a tyranny and protest is free over here. That is the worse thing about the tyrannical U.K Police State. It is like black ice. You don’t notice it until it brings you down.

BBC news is edited from an elite approved agenda and delivered by ambitious pompous patronising people – often posh feminists who think they know all about suffering because they are women. So they never make crucial connections, such as the latest Houthi attack on shipping in the Middle East. This is directly connected to Russia’s alliance with Iran. The west has treated both countries like dirt. Now it appears to be payback time in the Middle East and Ukraine – with worst to come.. The west lay claim to some sort of dubious moral superiority. They are doing very well mesmerising their masses with corny phrases like ‘the rule of international law’ and calling Putin and others they don’t like : ‘Hitler.’ No doubt the masses will feel very comforted when the nuclear missiles are on their way or they are cowering as suitably diverse conscripts shivering in the damp cold and dirty trenches, that they are ‘on the right side.’

R J Cook

Crew abandon British-registered cargo ship off Yemen after Houthi attack

File photo showing the Belize-flagged, British-registered cargo ship Rubymar at anchor in the Black Sea off Turkey (2 November 2022)
Image caption, The Houthis said they had targeted the the Belize-flagged, British-registered cargo ship Rubymar (file photo)

By David Gritten & Joshua Cheetham

BBC News

The crew of a Belize-flagged, British-registered cargo vessel have abandoned ship off Yemen after it was hit by missiles fired by the Houthi movement.

The Rubymar was in the Gulf of Aden and nearing the Bab al-Mandab Strait when it was struck, security firms said.

A Houthi military spokesman claimed that the ship suffered “catastrophic damage” and was at risk of sinking.

The UK condemned the “reckless attack” on the Rubymar and said allied naval vessels were “already on the scene”.

It is one of the most damaging attacks yet carried out by the Iran-backed Houthis, and is the latest evidence that Western efforts to deter them are yet to succeed.

The Houthis have launched dozens of missiles and drones at merchant vessels and Western warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since mid-November, in what they say is a show of support for the Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The attacks have prompted many shipping companies to stop using the critical waterway, which accounts for about 12% of global seaborne trade.

US and British forces began carrying out air strikes on military targets across Houthi-controlled western Yemen in response last month.

On Sunday night, the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it had received a report of an incident from an unnamed ship about 35 nautical miles (65km) south of the Yemeni Red Sea port of Mocha.

The master had reported “an explosion in close proximity to the vessel resulting in damage” at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT), it added.

Early on Monday, the agency cited military authorities as reporting that the crew abandoned the vessel following an attack.

“Vessel at anchor and all crew are safe,” it said. “Military authorities remain on scene to provide assistance.”

British maritime security firm Ambrey separately reported that a Belize-flagged cargo ship had come under attack in the Bab al-Mandab Strait on Sunday as it sailed northwards.

February 17th 2024

When Nice Virtue Signalling Putin Hating Liberals Grieve For Navalny, A Western Agent, They Should Think Of What The Freedom Loving Western Elite Have Done To Julian Assange – The Iraq War Crimes Whistle Blower – R J Cook

Alexei Navalny: Supporters’ grief, defiance and hope after leader’s death

By Steve Rosenberg

Russia Editor, Moscow

Blink, and you might have missed it.

In its 45-minute Friday night news bulletin, Russian TV devoted 28 seconds to the news about Alexei Navalny.

His death was announced almost in passing.

Just 28 seconds for the man who’d become Russia’s most prominent opposition figure and the country’s most famous prisoner.

Alexei Navalny had, in fact, been many things: lawyer, blogger, anti-corruption campaigner, political activist – and always a thorn in the side of the Kremlin.

Not all Russians had supported him. But, for a decade he was the only opposition figure in Russia capable of bringing large numbers of protesters on to the streets – across the country – to rail against the government, slam corruption and demand free and fair elections.

Which is why the Kremlin saw him as a threat.

Navalny had charisma and strength of character, as well as a sense of humour and the ability to inspire – rare for a Russian politician.

He also understood the power of the internet for getting across his message. He and his team produced and uploaded highly-polished documentaries that shone a light on alleged corruption at the highest levels of power in Russia.

“What we’re seeing now,” he told me in 2017, “is that the internet is the number one concern for the current regime – and its number one enemy, too.”

At the time the authorities had clearly wanted to avoid turning Navalny into a political martyr. He had run-ins with the police, but initially the punishments were smaller scale. In March 2017 I remember being crammed into a Moscow courtroom where he was being prosecuted for resisting arrest at a street protest.

“Millions of people back the battle against corruption,” he told me from the dock. “That shows the Kremlin is categorically wrong to claim it enjoys enormous support.”

He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 days behind bars.

Compare that to the 19-year prison sentence he received last year on extremism charges, widely viewed to have been politically motivated.

There were physical attacks, too.

In 2017 his eyesight was damaged when he was splashed with a green antiseptic dye. Three years later in Siberia he was poisoned with a nerve agent and airlifted to Germany for life-saving treatment. He survived and accused the Kremlin of trying to murder him.

And yet the following year – despite concerns for his safety – he returned to Russia.

Why did he go back?

Perhaps the “inner politician” was telling him that to effect political change at home he had to be in Russia. But almost immediately he ended up in prison.

Now Alexei Navalny is dead. The Russian authorities claim that he lost consciousness after a walk inside a penal colony and that medical teams tried, but failed, to resuscitate him. His supporters are convinced it was a political assassination.

Will there be political consequences?

These were already dark times for the Russian opposition. The country’s main opposition leaders are either in exile or in prison. With Navalny’s death, dark times have just got even darker. It’s likely to demoralise the Kremlin’s opponents even more.

Western leaders are insisting that President Vladimir Putin be held accountable and demanding serious consequences for the Kremlin.

Right now, it’s hard to see what those could be. More sanctions? After its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia is already the most sanctioned country in the world, and the International Criminal Court has already issued an arrest warrant for President Putin in relation to the war.

But for Alexei Navalny’s supporters, pondering the political consequences of his death is not their priority right now. They’re in mourning.

By Moscow’s “Wall of Grief” – a memorial to the victims of Stalin-era political repression – I watch Russians laying roses and carnations, and lighting candles in memory of the opposition leader. Police are out in force, hurrying people along.

In a country where dissent has pretty much been silenced, for many here just laying flowers is an act of courage.

There is a palpable sense of disbelief.

“I saw the news on my phone,” Mikhail tells me. “My first reaction was, ‘It’s just a joke. It can’t be real.’ But then the news came more and more and more. And I was crying for one hour.”

“I was with my friends [when I found out],” says Alina. “I was broken. I really thought that it couldn’t happen. Never.”

“We never thought it could happen”: it’s a phrase I have heard so often from Russians in recent times.

Later the riot police try to clear the square in front of the memorial.

“Move along. No-one is allowed to gather here,” says an officer.

“We have the right to be here,” shouts a woman. “We want to stand here and we will. This street isn’t yours. It belongs to everyone.”

The police don’t think so. They start pushing people away and making arrests.

There are cries of “Disgrace! Shame!” from people on the square.

But I’ll tell you what struck me most when I talked to people who’d come to lay flowers. Some of them told me that, despite a sense of shock, they still hoped for a better future, a different Russia. And they were clinging on to that hope – like a single shaft of light in the darkness.

Comment Just try protesting against anything, like abortion clinics, the anti democratic monarchy, House of Lords, bankers bonuses, higher taxes on the lower classes for part funding war in Ukraine or illegal mass immigration in the U.K. If you do, the police will be out in force. War in Uktaine is being used to demonise Russia as another distraction from the vile oppresseive elite dominated war mongering moron culture which is the ruling elite’s blueprint for the entire world.

Whatever is wrong with Russia, two wrongs do not make a right and you can’t have a lesser of evils. Britain is a poor excuse for a democracy if it sees fit to promote failed U.K Prime Minister and now Lord Cameron, to Foreign Secretary – co creater of the Libya, Syria and Afghanistan murderous diasters. This arrogant old Etonian and Oxford graduate advocates sterner measures to ‘make Putin pay.’

If the west had any grounds for condemning Putin’s Russia then it would release and pay damages to Julian Assange. Navalny was working with the western elite to subvert Russia. Julian Assange was framed by the Brirish and Swedish elite on bogus rape charges as a ruse for extradition proceedings to the U.S. Assange’s crimes were leaking the truth about Anglo U.S extreme war crimes. Assange has spent years locked away for his dedication to truth. Their are many more forgetten victims of fake western style democracies that have wreaked havoc and sown misery in the Middle East.

Western elite media have gone out of their way to ignore the Assange, Chelsea Manning, Dr David Kelly whose honesty over weapons of mass destruction stood in the way of the second Gulf Oil War and Jake Txeira stories. They share their elite paymasters priority of driving the war for Russian regime change before rolling on to finish the game in China. That is why the most incredible charges have been brought against Donald Trump to get him out of the game where he is seen as an obstacle on this pathway for greed.

R J Cook

Ukraine & Liberal Left Assume Western Taxpayers Have Obligation To Pay Taxes For NATO Proxy War On Russia.

Ukraine war: ‘Artificial shortage’ of weapons helps Putin, says Zelensky

War in Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen prepare a Leleka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for flying at a front line, Zaporizhzhia region, 15 February 2024.
Image caption, There are fears that the lack of ammunition is affecting performance as well as morale in Ukrainian ranks

By Paulin Kola

BBC News

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an urgent appeal for more weapons to avoid a “catastrophic” situation in Europe.

An “artificial deficit of weapons” will only help Russia, Mr Zelensky told an international conference in Germany.

Ukrainian troops have been running out of ammunition as vital US support has been held up by supporters of former President Donald Trump in Congress.

Mr Zelensky said he was prepared to tour the front lines with Mr Trump.

“If Mr Trump will come, I am ready to go with him to the front line. What does it mean, the real war, not Instagram, the real war,” the Ukrainian president said.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris, however, repeated assurances of support to Kyiv.

The US “can’t play political games” over the military aid, she said at a joint news conference with Mr Zelensky at the Munich Security Conference.

The gathering of world leaders and senior defence officials comes one week before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Before Mr Zelensky spoke, his top military commander said Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from Avdiivka, a key city in eastern Ukraine, marking one of Russia’s biggest military victories for months.

The president told delegates Ukrainian efforts were “limited only by the sufficiency and length of range of our strength”.

“Keeping Ukraine in the artificial deficits of weapons, particularly in deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities allows Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war,” he said.

“Ukrainians have proven that we can force Russia to retreat,” he said. “We can get our land back.”

He went on to warn that the Russian leader would make the next few years “catastrophic” for many more countries if the Western world did not stand up to him.

“Do not ask Ukraine when the war will end. Ask yourself, why is Putin still able to continue it?” Mr Zelensky told the conference.

Ukraine is critically dependent on weapons supplies from the US and other Western allies to keep fighting Russia – a much bigger military force with an abundance of artillery ammunition.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said help for Ukraine from the UK, the EU and the US would make a “real difference” to the fight against Russia.

But earlier this week, the US Senate approved a $95bn (£75bn) foreign aid package – including $60bn for Ukraine – after months of political wrangling, but it faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, where members of the Republican Party who are loyal to Mr Trump seem unwilling to pass the measure.

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the Munich conference Europe should help Ukraine more because it was in its interests, and stop “all that whining and moaning about Trump”.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a Putin victory in Ukraine was “not only a tragedy for the Ukrainians but it sends not only a message to Putin but also to [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping], that when they use military force, they get what they want. So what happens in Ukraine today and can happen in Taiwan tomorrow. And therefore I strongly believe that it’s a good deal for the United States to support Ukraine. It’s not charity, it’s an investment into their own security.”

Map showing areas of control in Ukraine

Related Topics

February 14th 2024

In bipartisan vote, US Senate backs $95 billion for war in Ukraine, genocide in Gaza

After passage of the bill, President Biden demanded Speaker of the House Mike Johnson allow an immediate vote in the House of Representatives.

Read more

Comment This is not good news to ordinary Americans. Biden, like his British counterparts are desperate warmongers. Ukraine, probably with help from British and other special forces has sunk another Russian ship. Russia is running out of options as the U.S wades in with promise of yet more taxpayers’ billions to bring Russia to its knees. The Anglo – U.S elite is relentless in its propoganda that this is a war for democracy. Russia knows what is going on and may well resort to desperate measures. NATO is at war with Russia using its Ukraine proxy and dangerous covert methods.

R J Cook

US gives Israel blank check to massacre civilians in Rafah

In multiple statements over the past 24 hours, US officials have made clear that they will take no action against Israel no matter how many civilians it massacres in its planned assault on Rafah.

Read more

CNN whistleblowers expose systematic bias in Gaza war reporting

Top editorial officials effectively banned any coverage of the Palestinian side of the conflict, and particularly the long history of Israeli oppression.

Read more

Site logo imagewinter oak

Enemies of the People: Profiteering from War After War

winter oak February 14 We are meant to believe that history unfolds randomly and chaotically. But, if we look closely, we can see certain repeating patterns reflecting the way in which major world events are frequently manipulated behind the scenes. As the drums of war grow louder in 2024, we present, by way of warning regarding the agenda concerned, this chapter from Paul Cudenec’s essay on the history of the corrupt Rothschild empire.There was a period in the 19th century when the Rothschilds gained a certain reputation for defending the peace in Europe, but with hindsight this appears to have been yet more expediency on their part.When their self-interest in the form of their investments required stability, they were against the disruption caused by war, but this was never a moral principle.Indeed, the whole success of their dynasty was founded on the way in which they exploited the opportunities presented to them by the wars that followed the French Revolution of 1789.Ferguson writes that “the Rothschilds were presented with undreamed-of business opportunities by the revolutionary wars”, [60] while Bouvier defines the Rothschilds as “that family of merchants made rich by the long European war of 1792 to 1815”. [61]According to historian Egon Caesar Corti, “it was in the profits made from war at that time that we can find the real origins of the subsequent enormous fortune of the House of Rothschild”. [62]The Rothschilds made money out of war in a range of different ways, not all of which were entirely legal. “The disruption of established patterns of trade and banking created room for ambitious risk takers”, as Ferguson puts it. [63]In their home city of Frankfurt they took advantage of food shortages and spiralling prices to operate on the black market and sold provisions to armies at a considerable profit. [64]From 1808 onwards, Nathan Rothschild (pictured) exported English guineas to the continent. Ferguson describes this as a “lucrative line of business” [65] and Bouvier adds that “the profits were no doubt proportionate to the risks”. [66]British goods, including cotton fabric, sugar, indigo and tobacco, were also transported across the Channel, via the Rothschilds’ warehouses, in defiance of Napoleon’s blockade. [67]Close to Wilhelm IX, the Elector of HesseKassel, Mayer Amschel Rothschild was involved in his purchase of thousands of mercenaries to join the British-led fight against the French forces. [68]Wars are expensive affairs and the financing has to come from somewhere. “As the scale and cost of the conflict between France and the rest of Europe rose, so too did the borrowing needs of the combatant states”, says Ferguson. [69]“The defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars had been financed to a large extent by British loans and subsidies to Austria, Russia and Prussia. With their establishments in Frankfurt, London and Paris, the Rothschilds had been in a uniquely good position to facilitate these transfers”. [70]He says that their activities at this time ushered in a new era in financial as well as political history.“The Rothschilds stretched their credit to breaking point, sometimes losing sight altogether of their assets and liabilities, gambling everything they owned for the sake of governmental commissions, interest payments and speculative gains from exchange rate and bond yield fluctuations. In 1815 alone, Nathan’s account with the British government totalled close to £10 million, a huge sum at that time”. [71]Particularly striking is the way in which Nathan Rothschild used funds entrusted to him by Wilhelm IX as if it was his own capital, investing in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of British government bonds and thereby securing the proximity to the British state for which his family is still known. [72]The Rothschilds’ network of agents across Europe also famously enabled them to be the first in London to have news of Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, which, says Bouvier, perhaps enabled Nathan Rothschild to pull off a spectacular coup at the Stock Exchange. [73]Writes Ferguson: “The Rothschilds emerged in 1815 as sterling millionaires. Almost at once, Nathan embarked on perhaps the most successful transaction of his career: a huge investment in British government bonds (consols) whereby he rode the upswing caused by the government’s postwar financial stabilization, taking his profits just before the market peaked. This was Nathan’s supreme Meistergeschäft, realizing profits of more than £250,000 at a stroke”. [74]Financing wars became something of a speciality for the Rothschilds; they loaned £1 million to Brazil to fund its war with Argentina and Uruguay in 1851, for example. [75]A couple of years later, they were back in action floating the British Government’s Crimean War Loan, [76] a reflection of the near monopoly enjoyed by Rothschilds over British war finance. [77]Their involvement in this 1853-1856 conflict torpedoes the idea that they had a vested interest in maintaining the peace.Ferguson insists: “Far from weakening the Rothschilds’ position, the Crimean War had precisely the opposite effect in that it emphatically reasserted the Rothschild houses’ primacy in the field of public finance.“Indeed, it demonstrated that the Rothschilds had for years been exaggerating the financial dangers of war. In reality, wars – and especially short wars of the sort which characterised the period from 1854 to 1871 – created financial opportunities which they, with their distinctive multinational structure, were especially well placed to exploit”. [78]As well as lending Britain a total of £26 million for the Crimean War, which was added to the £782 million existing national debt subsequent to the Napoleonic Wars, [79] they also lent money to France and Turkey. [80]While those two powers were both British allies in that conflict against Russia, between 1859 and 1870 the Rothschilds “would find themselves repeatedly on both sides of decisive conflicts which were to recast the map of Europe”, writes Ferguson. [81]“The wars of the 1850s and 1860s were fought by states which were, by and large, strapped for cash; this more than anything else explains the importance of the role played by bankers in the period – and the substantial profits they could make”. [82]He adds that their internal communications reveal that the Rothschilds “were calculating carefully to ensure that both sides in the conflict paid them for their financial services”. [83]Ferguson stresses that it would be absurd to argue that there was no connection between the overall profitability of the period for the Rothschilds and the recurrence of military conflict.“Far from damaging their position as the world’s leading multinational bank, the wars of the mid nineteenth-century generated unprecedented business for the Rothschilds, just as fifty years before it had been war which had set them on their way to fortune and notoriety”. [84]I will mention later the political Rothschild-linked machinations behind the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, but suffice to say here that they were involved with both sides and as a result their power in France and Europe was further enhanced. [85]Having been lured into launching the war, which they lost, the French were landed with hefty reparations.Of course, the Rothschilds were on hand to provide loans to the French state to pay off Prussia.“It was, quite simply, the biggest financial operation of the century, and arguably the Rothschilds’ crowning achievement”, [86] writes Ferguson.“As a percentage of GDP, French public debt was already 44 per cent in 1869, before the war, and 59 per cent in 1871, before most of the indemnity had been paid. So the total internal and external debt burden in 1871 was in the vicinity of 80 per cent of GDP”. [87]It was an “immense risk” [88] for the Rothschilds in France to be identified with paying such large sums of money to Berlin, he adds, and it is “extraordinary” how little criticism was levelled at Alphonse de Rothschild for his “great operation”, as the family termed it. [89]“Great racket” would be nearer the truth!I have already described [90] the Rothschild connections to South Africa, where the Boer War of 1899-1902 was essentially a grab of gold and diamond resources for Rothschild interests including De Beers.It is worth recalling that this conflict saw the first use of concentration camps, in which the families of Dutch-origin settlers were shockingly imprisoned.A few years later the Rothschilds semi-secretly helped finance the Japanese in their war against Russia in 1904-1906 and then openly loaned a further £48 million issue to help build back the post-war Japanese economy. [91]They performed the same role on the other side of the conflict, when “Russian industry recovered spectacularly thanks to the Rothschilds and other international bankers who poured massive loans into the country”, [92] as Docherty and Macgregor note.The Rothschilds’ role in the conspiracy to start and prolong the First World War is of utmost importance, but since I have already examined it in detail elsewhere, I will not repeat myself here.I will simply remind readers that the Rothschilds and their associates were able to profit from the bloodbath in multiple ways – through loans to finance the war and subsequent “build back better” projects, yes, but also very directly through their heavy involvement in the arms trade.One important player in this respect was wealthy international arms dealer Basil Zaharoff, deeply involved in both munitions and international politics at the time and “a Rothschild man”, in Docherty and Macgregor’s words. [93]By 1914, Zaharoff sat on the boards of Vickers and Le Nickel, both Rothschild-financed and influenced. [94]He would no doubt have agreed with James de Rothschild, who proudly told his nephews in 1866: “In a war there is money to be made from having money”. [95][Audio version]See also: A Crime Against Humanity: The Great Reset of 1914-1918

February 13th 2024

Trump said he might ignore NATO’s duty to defend. Here’s what the group does.

By Ben Brasch

Updated February 11, 2024 at 6:14 p.m. EST|Published February 11, 2024 at 11:37 a.m. EST

  1. 1What is NATO?
  2. 2Can a U.S. president decline to help a NATO ally?
  3. 3What is the U.S. role (and cost) for NATO?

An earlier version of this article erroneously said the United States contributed $860 billion to NATO last year. That figure was for total defense spending, according to NATO estimates, not funding for the alliance. That amount is more than double the amount all other members combined spend on defense. This article has been corrected.

Former president Donald Trump said Saturday that he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO member countries that, in his opinion, don’t spend enough to defend themselves.

Trump — the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination — has long criticized the alliance, including in 2018, when as president he voiced concern that using NATO troops to defend tiny Monte­negro could start World War III. American presidents are not required to do anything specific if an ally is attacked, but critics say Trump’s comments fly in the face of why NATO was formed in the first place.

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1

What is NATO?

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The United States was a driving force behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 1949 formation. In the wake of World War II, the alliance was designed to bolster security in Western Europe among countries worried about Soviet advances. It has grown from its initial 12 countries to 31, igniting debate for years over whether NATO’s enlargement has stoked Russian anxiety and over whether the American public is truly prepared to militarily defend every country added to NATO’s ledger.

The alliance rests on the principle of collective defense, meaning an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Although NATO does not have its own armed forces, it coordinates with the militaries of member states. NATO’s top defense officials have been American, while the secretary general is usually a senior European political figure.

NATO’s first combat mission was to enforce a no-fly zone in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. The second came when it intervened in the Kosovo War in 1999, a move criticized by China and Russia because it circumvented the U.N. Security Council, where both countries were expected to veto military action.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, NATO forces patrolled the Mediterranean Sea to secure some of the world’s busiest trade routes. NATO forces also later assisted a bombing campaign in Libya that drew international condemnation for killing civilians. (Human Rights Watch reported in 2011 that the NATO airstrikes had killed at least 72 civilians, a third of whom were under 18.)

But NATO forces have also provided humanitarian aid, building temporary shelters and delivering aid after an earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria in February 2023.

NATO member countries

NATO countries not shown:

Iceland, United States and Canada

FINLAND

NORWAY

Atlantic

Ocean

RUSSIA

Helsinki

ESTONIA

SWEDEN

North

Sea

Moscow

LATVIA

DEN.

LITHUANIA

IRELAND

UNITED

KINGDOM

RUS.

BELARUS

Berlin

NETH.

Warsaw

GERMANY

POLAND

BELG.

LUX.

UKRAINE

CZECH.

REP.

FRANCE

MOLDOVA

SWITZ.

HUNGARY

Crimea

SLOV.

ROMANIA

CROATIA

Illegally annexed by Russia in March 2014

PORTUGAL

BOS.

SERBIA

SPAIN

BULGARIA

ITALY

MONT.

KOS.

NORTH

MAC.

ALB.

TURKEY

GREECE

400 MILES

THE WASHINGTON POST

2

Can a U.S. president decline to help a NATO ally?

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As commander in chief, the president decides whether the U.S. military will fight.

If an ally is attacked, NATO will take “such action as it deems necessary” to protect the North Atlantic area, according to Article 5 of its charter.

That broad language gives leaders an avenue not to pursue military action if an ally provokes an enemy into a conflict, said political scientist Joshua Shifrinson.

That flexibility “creates the risk that Trump could stand aside if something goes awry,” said Shifrinson, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and a nonresident senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Jeffrey Larsen, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School who studies NATO, agrees that the language of Article 5 isn’t specific, but he said it would be unthinkable for the United States to not support an ally.

“No one believed the United States would be that country … until now,” said Larsen, who was a research director at the NATO Defense College when Trump was elected.

Larsen said it could break the alliance if the United States didn’t stand beside a NATO member.

“It would be disastrous from a foreign policy point of view not to come to the aid of an ally we’ve made this solemn commitment to,” he said.

Article 5 has only been invoked once: after the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

3

What is the U.S. role (and cost) for NATO?

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NATO members’ defense ministers in 2006 agreed that each country would spend about 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.

The United States spent $860 billion, 3.49 percent of its GDP, on defense in 2023, according to NATO estimates. Together, all non-U.S. members combined spend less than half of U.S. defense expenditures.

According to NATO, the United States also provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refueling; ballistic missile defense; and airborne electromagnetic equipment.

The sentiment that the United States has done more than its fair share for NATO isn’t new or held only by Republican administrations.

In 2011, Obama administration Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates scolded Europe’s dependence on American military might during a farewell speech.

He said Washington had a “dwindling appetite” to serve as NATO’s enforcer, and he condemned European defense cuts. He added that the United States was tired of fighting for those who “don’t want to share the risks and the costs.”

Trump has taken that sentiment another level, Shifrinson said.

“What Trump has done has put it on steroids. Because he’s so blunt and undiplomatic … it’s pushing the Europeans to rethink how much dependence they want to put on the United States,” Shifrinson said.

After Trump’s speech Saturday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance remains ready and able to defend itself.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” he wrote in a statement. “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election the US will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Miriam Berger, Claire Parker, Kyle Rempfer and Sammy Westfall contributed to this report.

It was 1994. I was attending a shoe fair in a remote town in western Germany called Pirmasens. It used to be a shoe manufacturing town, except that all the shoe factories had decamped to China and all that was left in Germany were shoe importing companies. The Westerners attending the fair didn’t like that at all. All the talk at the fair centered on breaking up China.

It’s been three decades since then and China is now the new, resplendent superpower of the world. It has left the old haggard superpower, the US, gasping behind. Talk in India is always about matching China. India is no match for China today. In 15 years, if it stays on track, it might get where China is today. Or, if it goes off-track, then India will remain what India is today.

One man, Narendra Modi, is holding India together. Give him some more time and he will put India on track. That’s a nightmare scenario for the West. White hegemony has ruled the world for three hundred years. Two Asian giants, China and India, both with a combined population of over three billion, and each a superpower in its own right, that’s a frightening thought to the West.

Native western (read white) populations are declining. If in twenty years, China becomes the number one nation in the world, as it is poised to become, and India the number three (after the US), white hegemony will be over. Countries in Africa and Asia and South America will look to China and India rather than to America and Europe. Three Muslim empires—the Ottoman, the Mughal, and the Persian—dominated the world three hundred years ago. The world will be once more under the rule of the so-called “coloreds”.

I admire Sonia Gandhi greatly. I hold her in the highest esteem and wish her a long and healthy life. But note that when enormous scams broke out when she was ruling India from 2004-14, western media was entirely gentle on her perhaps because she was white and originated from the West. Today Rahul Gandhi, rightly or wrongly, is seen as a flawed politician by many in India, but once again western media treats him with kid gloves.

I made a friend. She received her PhD from a leading Indian university and now teaches at a prominent college in London. I was struggling to have my articles placed in western media. She said, just write India-basing articles, and you will succeed. There are any number of Indians bashing Modi in western media. Some of these Indians are from India and some are those born in the West. What do those born in the West know about India? They anyway look down upon India. They don’t want to be Indian. How will they write objectively upon India?

DK Barooah was the president of the Indian National Congress in the seventies. He famously said in 1974 that India is Indira and Indira is India. I don’t subscribe to the notion that India is Modi and Modi is India. Modi might or might not have made mistakes during the pandemic. But he’s burning the midnight oil trying to redress them. Dr. Harsh Vardhan is wrong in calling Rahul Gandhi a vulture. That is simply unacceptable language. Vardhan must apologize.

But has Rahul reflected upon his habit of picking up tid-bits critical of Modi from foreign media and announcing them to the world. A notable publication, with its people sitting 10,000 miles away in America, forecasts Covid deaths in India and Rahul provides it affirmation. Why hasn’t this publication done the same exercise for Covid deaths in America?

Much is made of the lack of freedom of press in India under Modi. I can challenge any nay-sayer that India’s press is freer and fairer today under Modi than America’s is under Biden. America’s press often conveys a nauseating, propagandistic impression of America. If India under Modi had lost two wars (like America has done under successive presidents in Afghanistan and Iraq), India’s press would have torn Modi apart.

Yet America’s press rarely takes to task George W. Bush for his misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush’s approval rating today is over 60 percent. There’s nostalgia for him in America. He destroyed the economy but is hailed as a hero today. He killed more Muslims than any Indian leader has supposedly ever done, yet the US is the first country to take any “colored” country (read China and India) for their unfair treatment of Muslims.

This one-sided propaganda machine that emanates from the West is only meant to destroy the morale of countries like China and India. Modi understands the game so does not lash back. India is not an electoral autocracy under Modi as some obscure Swedish outfit called it. It’s a fully-functioning democracy. Indian leaders openly call Modi a butcher yet he never retaliates; he always works with his detractors and makes sure to congratulate them on their electoral victories (which are his defeats as well).

India is rising, but slowly. But rising it is. There are many Mir Jafars in India who want India to remain a secondary, even tertiary power. (Please note that I do not count Rahul Gandhi amongst them.) Getting your piece published in a reputable western publication is a matter of great pride for some. And that piece only gets published when, as my friend said, you bash India. And bashing India has to mean bashing Modi.

There is no DK Barooah in India today proclaiming that Modi is India and India is Modi. But western media seems to have clung to that adage. Let the full fury of western media, along with their Indian collaborators, be unleashed on Modi. The man is busy doing other things. He is trying to build India, slowly but surely. He is not taking his eye off the ball.

February 12th 2024

Pakistan election: What happens after Imran Khan vote surprise?

By Nicholas Yong and BBC Urdu

in Singapore and Islamabad

Pakistanis still do not know which party will form their next government or who their next prime minister will be four days after the hotly-contested general elections.

Despite former PM Imran Khan’s detention and the many hurdles thrown at his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), independent candidates backed by the party stunned observers by winning 93 National Assembly seats, the most by any party. However it is far short of the 169-seat simple majority required to form a government.

The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) of another former PM, Nawaz Sharif, came in second with 75 seats. He was seen to have the backing of the country’s powerful military and had been expected to coast to victory, five years after he left Pakistan in disgrace.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), led by political blue blood Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, came in third with 54 seats.

The constitution dictates that political parties must form a government by 29 February, or three weeks after election day. The National Assembly has a total of 336 seats, of which 266 are decided by direct voting and 70 are reserved – 60 for women and 10 for non-Muslims – and these are allocated according to the strength of each party in the assembly.

“It’s a fragmented mandate where none of the parties have a simple majority. And yet they will have to find a common ground or form a coalition to exist,” political analyst Rafiullah Kakar told BBC Urdu from Islamabad.

While both the PTI and PML-N have declared victory, a coalition government appears inevitable. As wrangling continues, independent candidates who did not win have flooded courts with vote-rigging allegations. Supporters of PTI have also staged protests outside Election Commission offices across the country.

So what comes next? There are a few possible scenarios:

Comment The only reason this result is a surprise to the west is because the west has gone out of its way to subvert Imran Khan’s party, opening the door to military malicious prosecution for the simple reason that Imran Khan puts Paskistan first and not his own class or religion, knowing that the latter is a brake on progress. His fate was sealed as soon as he breached money grabbing hypocritical sanctions on Russian energy. So called western democracies are run by and for the class of 3% who own 62% of the world wealth and its vile propogandist mainstream media. Democracy is impossible in these circumstances. The ruling elite make the laws that shut down and or discredit any informed criticism or protest. They only permit BLM and pro Palsestinian protests because it suits their agenda.

The western elite does not want progress in the old Third World. They want to keep it in the religious Dark Ages, divided, fooled and ruled. The same is true of Africa – and Latin America to a lesser extent. The elite have revived the racist issue to scapegoat the white lower class masses, allow the pretentious middle classes to virtue signal and make them look as if they had nothing to do with colonial history or the slaughter, ignorance and oppression of their own white masses. Hence their liberal application of the racist far right label to anyone who threatens their smug so called demcratic consensus, to which Donald Trump is seen as the ultimate threat and Biden the cure. I have lost count of the number of times the U.K so called independent media has praised Biden’s achivements and diplomacy today – regarding wars that their money and resource grabbing wars have caused..

R J Cook

Why does western media hate Modi so much?

May 29, 2021, 1:06 PM IST Sunil Sharan in Strategic Insights, India, TOI

It was 1994. I was attending a shoe fair in a remote town in western Germany called Pirmasens. It used to be a shoe manufacturing town, except that all the shoe factories had decamped to China and all that was left in Germany were shoe importing companies. The Westerners attending the fair didn’t like that at all. All the talk at the fair centered on breaking up China.

It’s been three decades since then and China is now the new, resplendent superpower of the world. It has left the old haggard superpower, the US, gasping behind. Talk in India is always about matching China. India is no match for China today. In 15 years, if it stays on track, it might get where China is today. Or, if it goes off-track, then India will remain what India is today.

One man, Narendra Modi, is holding India together. Give him some more time and he will put India on track. That’s a nightmare scenario for the West. White hegemony has ruled the world for three hundred years. Two Asian giants, China and India, both with a combined population of over three billion, and each a superpower in its own right, that’s a frightening thought to the West.

Native western (read white) populations are declining. If in twenty years, China becomes the number one nation in the world, as it is poised to become, and India the number three (after the US), white hegemony will be over. Countries in Africa and Asia and South America will look to China and India rather than to America and Europe. Three Muslim empires—the Ottoman, the Mughal, and the Persian—dominated the world three hundred years ago. The world will be once more under the rule of the so-called “coloreds”.

I admire Sonia Gandhi greatly. I hold her in the highest esteem and wish her a long and healthy life. But note that when enormous scams broke out when she was ruling India from 2004-14, western media was entirely gentle on her perhaps because she was white and originated from the West. Today Rahul Gandhi, rightly or wrongly, is seen as a flawed politician by many in India, but once again western media treats him with kid gloves.

I made a friend. She received her PhD from a leading Indian university and now teaches at a prominent college in London. I was struggling to have my articles placed in western media. She said, just write India-basing articles, and you will succeed. There are any number of Indians bashing Modi in western media. Some of these Indians are from India and some are those born in the West. What do those born in the West know about India? They anyway look down upon India. They don’t want to be Indian. How will they write objectively upon India?

DK Barooah was the president of the Indian National Congress in the seventies. He famously said in 1974 that India is Indira and Indira is India. I don’t subscribe to the notion that India is Modi and Modi is India. Modi might or might not have made mistakes during the pandemic. But he’s burning the midnight oil trying to redress them. Dr. Harsh Vardhan is wrong in calling Rahul Gandhi a vulture. That is simply unacceptable language. Vardhan must apologize.

But has Rahul reflected upon his habit of picking up tid-bits critical of Modi from foreign media and announcing them to the world. A notable publication, with its people sitting 10,000 miles away in America, forecasts Covid deaths in India and Rahul provides it affirmation. Why hasn’t this publication done the same exercise for Covid deaths in America?

Much is made of the lack of freedom of press in India under Modi. I can challenge any nay-sayer that India’s press is freer and fairer today under Modi than America’s is under Biden. America’s press often conveys a nauseating, propagandistic impression of America. If India under Modi had lost two wars (like America has done under successive presidents in Afghanistan and Iraq), India’s press would have torn Modi apart.

Yet America’s press rarely takes to task George W. Bush for his misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush’s approval rating today is over 60 percent. There’s nostalgia for him in America. He destroyed the economy but is hailed as a hero today. He killed more Muslims than any Indian leader has supposedly ever done, yet the US is the first country to take any “colored” country (read China and India) for their unfair treatment of Muslims.

This one-sided propaganda machine that emanates from the West is only meant to destroy the morale of countries like China and India. Modi understands the game so does not lash back. India is not an electoral autocracy under Modi as some obscure Swedish outfit called it. It’s a fully-functioning democracy. Indian leaders openly call Modi a butcher yet he never retaliates; he always works with his detractors and makes sure to congratulate them on their electoral victories (which are his defeats as well).

India is rising, but slowly. But rising it is. There are many Mir Jafars in India who want India to remain a secondary, even tertiary power. (Please note that I do not count Rahul Gandhi amongst them.) Getting your piece published in a reputable western publication is a matter of great pride for some. And that piece only gets published when, as my friend said, you bash India. And bashing India has to mean bashing Modi.

There is no DK Barooah in India today proclaiming that Modi is India and India is Modi. But western media seems to have clung to that adage. Let the full fury of western media, along with their Indian collaborators, be unleashed on Modi. The man is busy doing other things. He is trying to build India, slowly but surely. He is not taking his eye off the ball.

Exhausted Ukraine struggles to find new men for front line

Conscription officers with a young Ukrainian. There are no women in the infantry and women are not conscripted.

By Sarah Rainsford

BBC Eastern Europe correspondent, Cherkasy

When Pavlo Zhilin and his patrol hit the streets of Cherkasy, men often swerve to avoid them.

Pavlo is a conscription officer looking for soldiers for Ukraine’s army.

But almost two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion, there’s no flood of volunteers to the front line anymore.

Most of those who wanted to fight are either dead, injured or still stuck at the front waiting to be relieved by new recruits.

In the central town of Cherkasy, like elsewhere, finding them isn’t easy now that the first burst of enthusiasm and energy has faded.

Ukraine is exhausted.

Pavlo’s story

“I don’t get it. People are out and about, like the war is somewhere far away. But this is a full-scale invasion, and it’s like people still don’t care,” Pavlo says.

He is frustrated by what he sees as indifference.

“We need everyone to come together like they did on the first day. Everyone was united then, like brothers.”

Instead, the security service in Cherkasy is constantly shutting down local social media channels that warn people when the conscription teams are in town and alert them to areas to avoid.

At 24, Pavlo has sacrificed a lot for his country.

He grew up dreaming of being a soldier – his eyes light up when he remembers that – and he was serving in the army in February 2022 when Russian troops rolled across the border.

He fought near Kyiv, then Soledar in the eastern Donbas, where the battle was brutal. That first summer, he was moved to Bakhmut.

“We came under heavy fire. A shell landed next to me. I lost my whole elbow. There was nothing left,” he says, describing an attack in which he was badly injured.

He managed to crawl beneath a bush and he began to pray.

The soldier admits that getting to hospital was a huge relief: not just because he’d survived, but because he was finally off the front line. “It was hard there. I can’t even put it into words.”

He looks down and falls quiet.

Pavlo’s injuries were severe. His right arm was amputated below the shoulder, he still feels pain where his limb is missing, and he has shrapnel in his leg. His basic prosthetic gives him limited movement.

But he wanted to go on serving, so he became a conscription officer.

After all he’s been through, I wonder whether he understands why other men evade the draft.

Pavlo lost his arm fighting in Bakhmut
Image caption, Pavlo lost his arm fighting in Bakhmut

“One day, their children will ask what they did during the war, when the men were fighting. When they reply, ‘I was hiding,’ then they’ll plummet in the children’s eyes,” Pavlo says firmly.

And yet the price Ukraine is paying to defend itself is already immense.

When I ask Pavlo whether he’s lost friends in the fighting, he admits that there’s “almost no one left” from his entire company.

“The only ones left are [injured] like me. The others are dead.”

Serhiy’s story

Away from the eastern front line, there are signs of recovery among the ruins.

Irpin, near Kyiv, was occupied by Russian forces at the very start of the war. There are shell-shattered buildings all around, but also the sound of building work.

For those who lost everything, there are now small “towns” of pre-fabricated cabins, each with two rooms and a shower room. About half of the residents are from Irpin itself. Others have been displaced from closer to the front.

Lilia Saviuk and her husband have just moved in from Kakhovka in the east, still occupied by Russian forces.

At the start of the war, their son Serhiy was captured there and held in a basement. Lilia says he was tortured for shouting pro-Ukrainian slogans.

When Serhiy got out, he left the region and immediately signed up to fight for Ukraine.

Serhiy poses for a picture in a forest, wearing combat uniform and holding assault rifle
Image caption, Serhiy was injured while fighting for Ukraine

When Lilia flicks through her phone for pictures to show me, it throws up images of terrible injuries.

Most of the flesh on one of her son’s legs was blown off and his foot was in tatters.

Serhiy was injured last autumn in Avdiivka, where the fighting has been fierce and even Ukrainian officials admit their army is outgunned and outmanned.

One source put the difference at 8-1, in Russia’s favour.

Lilia and her husband couldn’t leave Kakhovka with Serhiy, because their elderly parents refused to go. So they stayed, under occupation, terrified the Russians might discover that their son was a soldier.

They finally left when Serhiy was injured, to be with him in hospital, but Lilia cries with the shame she feels at leaving relatives behind.

Serhiy lies in a hospital bed with bandages in his face and on his right upper body
Image caption, Serhiy’s mum says the doctors performed a “miracle”

“We call and ask them, ‘Is it quiet?'” she says, meaning is there shelling. “Everyone there is waiting for liberation. For it to be loud. But there is only quiet.

“People have been crying for so many months and nothing is getting any better.”

But there is another fear driving Lilia’s tears.

She shows me videos of her pushing her son around in a wheelchair. The two are laughing, covered in snow. Then there are pictures of the skin grafts he’s had, where Lilia says the doctors have “performed a miracle”.

But as soon as Serhiy is fully fit, he’s told his mother he’ll go back to the front. He says there are not enough soldiers there. His friends need him.

So Lilia is praying for the war to end first.

“I think he has already done his duty,” she says, eyes full of tears. “As a mother, it is a sin to say this, but while he is in hospital, I can sleep calmly. I can’t sleep when he is on the front line.

“So I am glad my son is in hospital now, although I really shouldn’t say this. I’m glad he’s not at the front.”

Vladislav’s story

On the edge of Cherkasy, there is a cemetery with a long line of recent graves. They’re for the men of all ages from the town who’ve died fighting since Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to invade.

Ukraine honours the dead as heroes, but it’s left to their families to grieve.

Each grave is decorated with national flags and heaped with wreaths and flowers. There are images, fixed to crosses or etched into marble headstones, of the soldiers in military uniform.

A woman stands next to her son's grave in Cherkasy
Image caption, Inna’s son was killed when a mine exploded

Inna can’t bear to put her son’s photo on his grave yet. The image that she used for his funeral is still at home. She’s not ready to let go.

Vladislav Bykanov was killed last June by a mine explosion near Bakhmut. He was about to turn 23 and already a deputy commander.

“I believe my son died doing the right thing,” Inna says firmly, as her daughter cries quietly beside her.

“I’m a teacher and I always tell the children this: we are right, we are defending our country and our children. My son was defending us. He believed in this cause. And I believe,” Inna says before pausing to take in the flags and faces all around.

She hasn’t visited the cemetery for a little while and the row of soldiers’ graves has grown.

“Do you think my son wasn’t afraid? I was afraid too, when he went. Everyone’s afraid of dying,” she answers, when I wonder what she thinks of those who avoid signing up to fight.

“But maybe being enslaved by Russia is more frightening? Now we see death. It’s very difficult. Very difficult. But there is no way back. We can’t give up.”

Additional reporting by Anastasiia Levchenko and Paul Pradier

By Sarah Rainsford

Eastern Europe correspondent, Cherkasy

When Pavlo Zhilin and his patrol hit the streets of Cherkasy, men often swerve to avoid them.

Pavlo is a conscription officer looking for soldiers for Ukraine’s army.

But almost two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion, there’s no flood of volunteers to the front line anymore.

Most of those who wanted to fight are either dead, injured or still stuck at the front waiting to be relieved by new recruits.

In the central town of Cherkasy, like elsewhere, finding them isn’t easy now that the first burst of enthusiasm and energy has faded.

Ukraine is exhausted.

Pavlo’s story

“I don’t get it. People are out and about, like the war is somewhere far away. But this is a full-scale invasion, and it’s like people still don’t care,” Pavlo says.

He is frustrated by what he sees as indifference.

“We need everyone to come together like they did on the first day. Everyone was united then, like brothers.”

Instead, the security service in Cherkasy is constantly shutting down local social media channels that warn people when the conscription teams are in town and alert them to areas to avoid.

At 24, Pavlo has sacrificed a lot for his country.

He grew up dreaming of being a soldier – his eyes light up when he remembers that – and he was serving in the army in February 2022 when Russian troops rolled across the border.

He fought near Kyiv, then Soledar in the eastern Donbas, where the battle was brutal. That first summer, he was moved to Bakhmut.

“We came under heavy fire. A shell landed next to me. I lost my whole elbow. There was nothing left,” he says, describing an attack in which he was badly injured.

He managed to crawl beneath a bush and he began to pray.

The soldier admits that getting to hospital was a huge relief: not just because he’d survived, but because he was finally off the front line. “It was hard there. I can’t even put it into words.”

He looks down and falls quiet.

Pavlo’s injuries were severe. His right arm was amputated below the shoulder, he still feels pain where his limb is missing, and he has shrapnel in his leg. His basic prosthetic gives him limited movement.

But he wanted to go on serving, so he became a conscription officer.

After all he’s been through, I wonder whether he understands why other men evade the draft.

Pavlo lost his arm fighting in Bakhmut
Image caption, Pavlo lost his arm fighting in Bakhmut

“One day, their children will ask what they did during the war, when the men were fighting. When they reply, ‘I was hiding,’ then they’ll plummet in the children’s eyes,” Pavlo says firmly.

And yet the price Ukraine is paying to defend itself is already immense.

When I ask Pavlo whether he’s lost friends in the fighting, he admits that there’s “almost no one left” from his entire company.

“The only ones left are [injured] like me. The others are dead.”

Serhiy’s story

Away from the eastern front line, there are signs of recovery among the ruins.

Irpin, near Kyiv, was occupied by Russian forces at the very start of the war. There are shell-shattered buildings all around, but also the sound of building work.

For those who lost everything, there are now small “towns” of pre-fabricated cabins, each with two rooms and a shower room. About half of the residents are from Irpin itself. Others have been displaced from closer to the front.

Lilia Saviuk and her husband have just moved in from Kakhovka in the east, still occupied by Russian forces.

At the start of the war, their son Serhiy was captured there and held in a basement. Lilia says he was tortured for shouting pro-Ukrainian slogans.

When Serhiy got out, he left the region and immediately signed up to fight for Ukraine.

Serhiy poses for a picture in a forest, wearing combat uniform and holding assault rifle
Image caption, Serhiy was injured while fighting for Ukraine

When Lilia flicks through her phone for pictures to show me, it throws up images of terrible injuries.

Most of the flesh on one of her son’s legs was blown off and his foot was in tatters.

Serhiy was injured last autumn in Avdiivka, where the fighting has been fierce and even Ukrainian officials admit their army is outgunned and outmanned.

One source put the difference at 8-1, in Russia’s favour.

Lilia and her husband couldn’t leave Kakhovka with Serhiy, because their elderly parents refused to go. So they stayed, under occupation, terrified the Russians might discover that their son was a soldier.

They finally left when Serhiy was injured, to be with him in hospital, but Lilia cries with the shame she feels at leaving relatives behind.

Serhiy lies in a hospital bed with bandages in his face and on his right upper body
Image caption, Serhiy’s mum says the doctors performed a “miracle”

“We call and ask them, ‘Is it quiet?'” she says, meaning is there shelling. “Everyone there is waiting for liberation. For it to be loud. But there is only quiet.

“People have been crying for so many months and nothing is getting any better.”

But there is another fear driving Lilia’s tears.

She shows me videos of her pushing her son around in a wheelchair. The two are laughing, covered in snow. Then there are pictures of the skin grafts he’s had, where Lilia says the doctors have “performed a miracle”.

But as soon as Serhiy is fully fit, he’s told his mother he’ll go back to the front. He says there are not enough soldiers there. His friends need him.

So Lilia is praying for the war to end first.

“I think he has already done his duty,” she says, eyes full of tears. “As a mother, it is a sin to say this, but while he is in hospital, I can sleep calmly. I can’t sleep when he is on the front line.

“So I am glad my son is in hospital now, although I really shouldn’t say this. I’m glad he’s not at the front.”

Vladislav’s story

On the edge of Cherkasy, there is a cemetery with a long line of recent graves. They’re for the men of all ages from the town who’ve died fighting since Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to invade.

Ukraine honours the dead as heroes, but it’s left to their families to grieve.

Each grave is decorated with national flags and heaped with wreaths and flowers. There are images, fixed to crosses or etched into marble headstones, of the soldiers in military uniform.

A woman stands next to her son's grave in Cherkasy
Image caption, Inna’s son was killed when a mine exploded

Inna can’t bear to put her son’s photo on his grave yet. The image that she used for his funeral is still at home. She’s not ready to let go.

Vladislav Bykanov was killed last June by a mine explosion near Bakhmut. He was about to turn 23 and already a deputy commander.

“I believe my son died doing the right thing,” Inna says firmly, as her daughter cries quietly beside her.

“I’m a teacher and I always tell the children this: we are right, we are defending our country and our children. My son was defending us. He believed in this cause. And I believe,” Inna says before pausing to take in the flags and faces all around.

She hasn’t visited the cemetery for a little while and the row of soldiers’ graves has grown.

“Do you think my son wasn’t afraid? I was afraid too, when he went. Everyone’s afraid of dying,” she answers, when I wonder what she thinks of those who avoid signing up to fight.

“But maybe being enslaved by Russia is more frightening? Now we see death. It’s very difficult. Very difficult. But there is no way back. We can’t give up.”

Additional reporting by Anastasiia Levchenko and Paul Pradier

Amid furor over Biden’s age and acuity: The deeper issues in the Democratic Party crisis

The political crisis in the United States is rooted in the global crisis of capitalism, which threatens working people with war, social austerity and dictatorship.

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Biden reaffirms US support for Israel as Netanyahu pledges to proceed with assault on Rafah

Israel is determined to assault Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza where over a million people are sheltering, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday.

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Anger erupts in Iraq over US drone strike in Baghdad

On the flimsiest of pretexts, Washington has arrogated to itself the right to carry out murderous attacks across the Middle East, deliberately inflaming tensions throughout the region.

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Mass layoffs in US healthcare industry carried out to maximize profits

The assault on jobs has impacted every industry, including the healthcare sector, which suffered nearly 60,000 job cuts in 2023.

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Long suppressed report sheds light on Canada’s “Open Door Policy” for Nazi war criminals

Reading the now largely unredacted Rodal report, one understands why it was kept secret for almost 40 years. It demonstrates that many of Justice Jules Deschenes’ conclusions in the official Report on War Criminals in Canada were lies.

Read more

February 11th 2024

White House in crisis after special counsel report on classified documents slams Biden’s “limited” memory

Shock Horror, former much maligned U.S President Trump wants Europe to spend on the wars it might cause by provocation, their own neglect and elite greed. Enough young Amercan men have died for these parasistes already so I agree with Trump. U.S priority should be better susstainable measures to sort out Latin America before its religion dominated corrupt regimes drag the U.S down to their crime infested poverty stricken polluting overpopulated level.
The CIA are no btter than the drug gangsters they purport to despise. Sleepy Joe sees it differently, or at least his puppet master handlers do. Over here in the U.K, BBC and Sky are already talking Biden up as a man of action. This is to play down evidence that his memory is so bad that he won’t be prosecuted for the same crimes Trump is already as good as convicted. It is a sick joke and very GDR to call the U.S, U.K and European lackeys a democracy. Only idiots and ethnic minorities would believe this insidious propopoganda.

While Special Counsel Robert Hur ultimately decided against bringing charges against Joe Biden for his handling of classified documents, his multiple comments on Biden’s deteriorating cognition have further imperiled his 2024 candidacy.

Read more

How Biden can still beat Trump
New polling suggests the President has a hidden advantage Photo of James Kanagasooriam BY JAMES KANAGASOORIAM

Comment I guess memory loss and looking like a kindly old man is what was the most technologocal and scientifically advanced nation needs – gives a whole new meaning to plausible deniability..

R J Cook

Taylor Swift, America’s national hero The tortured superstar is an antidote to Trump and Biden

Taylor Swift, America’s national hero
The superstar is an antidote to Trump and Biden Photo of David Samuels BY DAVID SAMUELS

“I broke his heart ‘cause he was nice” 

from Midnight Rain

A (quite unfair) criticism of Taylor Swift’s work often comes down to the idea of painting herself as a victim, a perfect girl that men can’t wait to damage. Sure, there are a handful of songs where Swift is entirely blameless in her pain, but not in Midnight Rain. The tables almost turn in this song as she acts the party using someone’s affability as a weapon against them. It wrestles with big dreams and small towns (a classic Swiftian pastiche) but also the people you leave trodden into the ground on the way. It’s not a nice feeling, but she’s resigned to it, knowing ultimately her cold-heartedness made way for her success. “I guess sometimes we all get just what we wanted, just what we wanted. And he never thinks of me, except when I’m on TV”

Taylor Swift, An American Hero and maybe future President.

February 10th 2024

Democrats who have spent time with Mr Biden have defended him as sharp and focused !!!!! So he must be a liar by this argument because he was evasive and failed to answer crucial questions for the inquiry. He can’t have it both ways.

Republican President George Bush Snr. was first to coin the phrase; ‘New World Order’. This was after the first Gulf War, which the U.S provoked, backed by war mongering Thatcher’s U.K. It was about control of oil fields and prices. Thus began a rolling regime programme that has finally come back to Russia’s front door. This is because the 1990 coup didn’t survive alcoholic U.S placeman Yeltsin’s death. Russia has been forced into an existential war due to NATO subterfuge and expansionism.

The United States consumes 52% of all earth natural resources every year in spite of containing only 6% of the world’s population. These figures are even more interesting in the light of only 3% of the world’s population owning 62% of global wealth. Small shareholders count for nothing because they are divided, while the big boys only need, on average 25% of shares in a major company to control the board of directors and therefore policy – including fat bonuses and profiteering at the masses’ expense. Leading politicians, like Joe Biden and his son are among major corporate shareholders. This is why Joe Biden is on record stating that the war in Ukraine is a good investment.

The United States was a British creation with its first president George Washington’s ancestral home about 40 miles from where I am writing this. Britain was not a creation of black or Asian invasions as liberal lefties use the media to deceive us into believing. It was the creation of Roman Imperialism, Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Norman French – all white as matters of fact. Their elites learned much from their warfare, oppression and exploitation of their underclasses. The ones who came out on top ran cruel regimes, using a warped tyrannical version of Christ’s teachings to frighten lower order people into submission and complicity.

On that basis they built an empire, doing slavery deals with African leaders and trade deals with India – hence the British East India Company. America was their most ruthless creation, notably for the genocide of the native American Indian tribes as the settlers spread west. Washington owned black slaves whose labour contributed massively to his wealth. Mad King George gets the credit for triggering the American War of Independence, over taxes. But the ruling white upper class elite never cut their ties with Britain. Migrants from other parts of Europe followed by the boat load but were looked down upon by the ruling class of White Anglo Saxon Protestants ( WASPS ).

So came the United States in to being after 8 years of fighting for independence, in 1783. The British elite had established their order, with lesser migrants down trodden or taking the pioneer trail. The blacks were apparently liberated in 1865 by the efforts of Republican President Abraham Lincoln. The principle that all presidents had to be rich was established from the outset. The myth that the U.S was the home of liberty, equality and fraternity was set in stone when, in 1865, a French political intellectual and anti-slavery activist named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that a statue representing liberty be built for the United States. This monument would honor the United States’ centennial of independence and the friendship with France. The statue arrived 20 years later. to recognize America as a champion of liberty and encourage the French to support the same ideals.

In spite of all the hardships, prejudices against percived lesser people, the Great inter world war Depression, and Civil Rights movement, the United States ruling class, including the industrial military complex, the liberty, equality and fraternity myth is still toted. The underclass, most notably the blacks and Muslims are necessary voting fodder. The white working classes aren’t seen in the same light. If they are not politically correct WOKE people, they are, in churslish defeated Democrat candiate Hilary Clinton’s words; ‘The Deplorables’. She is on record urging her supporters to never accept Trump’s victory.

Donald Trump was obstructed in his presidential ambitions for the whole of his term, 2016 – 20. The FBI , MI6 and CIA were all over him with obsessive interest in his sex life and smearing him as a Russian agent put in power by Putin. Britain’s ruling class are historically and currently interwoven with those of the U.S. They all share the anti Russia communist obsession because they have much to gain and much to lose. The masses have always been their cannon fodder and scapegoats since this privileged people made the rules. As we saw with war crimes whistle blower Julian Assange, these hypocrites prefer jailing and demouncing the truth tellers to justice.

That is why the authorities and captive elite media see no problem getting away with a double standard regarding clear Biden financial interest in supporting Ukraine or concerns about Biden’s own inappropriate behaviour with women. On April 12, 2020, a New York Times article reported interviews with Tara Reade, several of her friends, lawyers, and people who worked with Biden in the early 1990s, along with seven women who accused him of kissing, hugging, or touching them in ways that had made them feel uncomfortable. Ms. Reade, a former Senate aide, has accused Mr. Biden of assaulting her in 1993 and says she told others about it. A Biden spokeswoman said the allegation is false, and former Senate office staff members do not recall such an incident.

The veracity of Ms Reade’s allegations are not the issue here. The point is that they were automatically dismissed. On the other hand, last year, a jury found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million in a judgment that could haunt the former president as he campaigns to regain the White House. Carroll nodded as the verdict was announced in a New York City federal courtroom after only three hours of ‘evidence’ ( sic ). Carroll hugged supporters and smiled through tears. As the courtroom cleared, Carroll could be heard laughing and crying.

Trump was given no opportunity to defend himself and the only evidence was 79 year old Carroll’s word. New York is a Democrat Party stronghold with the DA and judges appointed accordingly. Massive media and Democrat pressure was used to discredit Trump’s Supreme Court nominee with the self righteous far from Democratic clique going out of their way to present Trump’s choice as a teenage sex offender. As for Carroll, she could not even remember the precise date of exact year of the 28 year old offence when she admitted taking some expensive lingerie into an exclusive New York store changing room to model it for Trump. Now it is reported as fact, with the same message put about that the assault was actually rape – which makes the long delay in reporting it to police and media, even more amazing.

Many years ago, when I got my first job as a newspaper columnist, I was very careful to keep a diary. Otherwise one would easily lose track. It is an old habit of mine as two police forces have discovered !! So it beats me why a New York elite columnist has no such diary and was allowed to carry a jury on her word alone.

I studied United States economic history as a minor subject at the University of East Anglia in the early 1970s. I had a brilliant Irish American tutor, Dr Alan O’Day. I have never forgotten his calm, quiet dry humour, unassuming and friendly manner. We had many drinks together at the university bar. Among other things I learned that liberated slaves headed north to the cities, many to New York The ghetto age was born alongside the increasingly affluent WASPS. Today these people coalesce, with war on Trump. The wealthy Democrats need an underclass for their promises of ever better laws to help them up and protect their rights. This really is all part of their class’s security blanket to protect their wealth.

When Trump stepped outside of his class, making promises to drain Washington’s politically motivated rat infested corrupt swamp, he had stepped outside of his class. He made no argument for helping poor whites at the expense of blacks. He was speaking up for all. But resentful Hilary Clinton who is actually on record preaching robust rejection of Trump’s 2016 victory and exhorting protest. Billionaire and feminist fund raiser George Soros joined in the rabble rousing claiming electoral fraud, with full support from Anglo U.S elite media. The war to neuter Trump’s administration had begun.

Now there are the vested interests of Anglo U.S arms makers and arms traders to consider regardless of the so called ‘cost of living crisis.’ Trump wanted peace and progress with Russia from the outset. Democrats can’t let that happen. War not only makes money on both sides of the Atlantic. It stokes up fear of a common enemy bringing the divided people together against the dreaded ‘reds under the bed.’ It is also a good way to thin out the lower order overpopulation. Life in the west is increasingly horrible for the masses. Suicide rates and mental health cases are sky rocketing. Forget doing it yourself and use your lunacy to join the army to make war, not love.

Joe Biden is the Linch pin of this lunacy. So he must be protected at all cost. The fact that he appears to struggle to name the day of the week is all to the good because he will do as he is told by the swamp people, taking the blame if it all goes wrong. They know that if the Russians are forced to go nuclear it won’t really matter. These swamp dwellers are gamblers, gambling with our lives.

Therefore Joe Biden must be let off of the same charges relating to storing top secret documents in his garage by a bin, because the inquiry decided that he would never be convicted. The jurors,they said would view him as a kindly old man who didn’t know what he is doing. This is not necessarily good news for Donald Trump because there will be other Democrat black and white liberal ( sic ) judges in New York waiting to double down on him with yet more double standards and spurious charges.

R J Cook February 10th 2024.

Why Is Anglo U.S Dominated Elite Media So Desperate To Back Biden In The Name Of Freedom ( never mentioning whose freedom because that would give the game away. )

Democrats rally around Biden as report raises age concerns

Democrats who have spent time with Mr Biden have defended him as sharp and focused

By Sam Cabral & Madeline Halpert

BBC News on Capitol Hill & from New York

President Joe Biden looking sharp and focused as leader of the ‘Free World’ & Its Democracies ( sic )

Democrats are defending President Joe Biden after a report on his handling of classified documents raised concerns about his age and mental fitness.

Mr Biden will not be charged for keeping classified documents, but the report cast him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

Vice-President Kamala Harris slammed the description as “gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate”.

She also alleged the prosecutor was “clearly politically motivated”.

Robert Hur, a Donald Trump appointee who has previously clerked for two well-known conservative judges, was appointed to lead the Biden classified document probe last year.

His selection by US Attorney General Merrick Garland that January came as the justice department faced criticism from Republicans over a separate special counsel appointment to investigate Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of top secret files.

But Mr Hur’s publicly-released report included a letter from the White House asking that the comments about the president’s memory be revised “in a manner that is within the bounds of your expertise and remit”.

Ms Harris, who has previously served as a prosecutor, echoed that criticism at a news conference on Friday.

“The way that the president’s demeanour in that report was characterised could not be more wrong on the facts, and clearly politically motivated,” she said.

“When it comes to the role and responsibility of a prosecutor in a situation like that, we should expect there would be a higher level of integrity.”

Democratic allies on Capitol Hill also told the BBC they believed Mr Hur’s remarks went beyond the scope of the investigation.

“I think it was an entirely inappropriate way to approach the remit of the special counsel and the role of the special counsel,” Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said.

“It’s unfortunate it wandered into territory that was so inappropriate.”

Minnesota’s Tina Smith called Mr Hur’s comments “outrageous” and “despicable”, accusing him of “blatantly politicising” his role as special counsel.

Since launching his re-election campaign, Mr Biden has been plagued by concerns about his age and mental capacities.

He is 81, just a few years older than the front-runner Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump, 77.

This report has done little to assuage voters’ concerns. It alleged that Mr Biden could not remember when his son Beau died of cancer or when he served as vice-president during interviews with investigators.

But Democrats who spoke to the BBC on Friday said they remain unconcerned about the president’s mental faculties.

Summing up his takeaways from the report, Senator Jon Ossoff from Georgia said: “No charges recommended. Unusual commentary straying from what one would typically expect in a focused and substantive report. Ultimately just noise.”

The youngest member of the Senate, Mr Ossoff emphasised that he had spent a “substantial amount of time” with the president in recent months.

“I’ve found him to be sharp, focused, impressive, formidable and effective,” he said.

Mr Ossoff’s colleagues agreed, including Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who called the president “thoughtful and experienced” at a Friday news conference.

Democrats remain “absolutely confident” in the president, he said. “We want to stick with somebody who understands what this country needs.”

https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.51.0/iframe.htmlMedia caption,

Watch: Biden responds to special counsel – “I’m elderly and know what the hell I’m doing”

But some of his counterparts across the aisle said Mr Hur’s observations had added fuel to the growing perception that Mr Biden is not up to the job of president.

“He’s trying to do his best, and his best is beginning to concern me,” North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis told the BBC.

“I don’t care if you’re 78 or 178, if you’re going to be the leader of the free world, you’ve got to be on your game 100%,” the moderate Republican said.

Concerns about Mr Biden’s age are “an enduring problem” for his re-election campaign, Larry Sabato, the director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told the BBC.

Experts have noted that polling suggests Mr Trump does not face as much criticism from voters about his age, despite having similar gaffes as Mr Biden on the campaign trail.

In recent months, both Mr Biden and Mr Trump have made a series of public errors while publicly speaking, confusing names of world leaders and US politicians on several occasions.

But Mr Trump’s bombastic style and “constant offensive posture” may fuel perceptions of him as a more energetic candidate, said Chris Borick, the director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

Worries about Mr Trump’s age “don’t seem to stick in the same way”, he said.

But for Mr Biden, his campaign will have to be focused on addressing the perception that he is not mentally fit for office.

“The report adds to the steepness of [Biden’s] efforts to overcome what is undoubtedly a significant hindrance to his campaign,” Mr Borick said.

Five things in the Biden classified documents report

By Matt Murphy

BBC News, Washington

A report from Special Counsel Robert Hur has raised serious questions about Joe Biden’s memory, provoking a strong reaction from the US president.

Declining to prosecute Mr Biden for retaining troves of classified documents, Mr Hur – who served in the Trump administration – said the 81-year-old would likely present himself at trial as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

Elsewhere, the report challenged Mr Biden for retaining reams of classified information, and for storing it improperly and insecurely.

Shortly after the report was released, President Biden held a surprise news briefing at the White House, telling reporters: “My memory is fine.”

1. Major questions raised about the president’s memory

The report found that the president’s memory “appeared to have significant limitations”.

The quotes are among dozens of examples in the report which raise questions about Mr Biden’s memory and mental agility.

In one passage, the special counsel described an extended interview with the ghostwriter of Mr Biden’s book, Mark Zwonitzer, where the president appeared to struggle to recall significant events from his time serving as vice-president to Barack Obama.

“Mr Biden’s recorded conversations with Zwonitzer from 2017 are often painfully slow, with Mr Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.”

The report then details Mr Biden’s interviews with the special counsel’s office, for which he sat voluntarily, six years later. It describes his memory as having become worse in the intervening period.

“In his interview with our office, Mr Biden’s memory was worse. He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).”

Elsewhere, the report says Mr Biden struggled to remember key events that caused divisions in the early days of the Obama administration.

In particular, it suggests that Mr Biden struggled to describe the intricacies of a debate surrounding the surge of troops into Afghanistan in 2009. The then vice-president was opposed to President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional US troops into the country to support the government of Hamid Karzai. Instead, Mr Biden wanted to expand special operations missions and drone strikes.

“His memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he “had a real difference” of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”

Joe Biden, Hamid Karzai and Barack Obama
Image caption, Mr Biden disagreed with Mr Obama’s decision to send 30,000 US troops to shore up Hamid Karzai’s government

Elsewhere, Mr Hur’s report also suggests Mr Biden could not recall when exactly his son, Beau, passed away.

“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.”

The president’s son, a former US army soldier in Iraq and Delaware’s ex-attorney general, died in May 2015, aged 46. Mr Biden has described the event as one of the worst days of his life.

While Mr Hur’s report offers these examples as evidence of Mr Biden’s diminished mental faculties, the report has already come under attack from Democrats.

Richard Sauber – Mr Biden’s special counsel – condemned the report and urged Mr Hur to “revisit [his] descriptions of President Biden’s memory and revise them so that they are stated in a manner that is within the bounds of your expertise and remit”.

Mr Sauber said the descriptions of the president’s memory were not “accurate or appropriate” and that they had no place in a Department of Justice report.

Mr Sauber also observed that the interviews began the day after the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October last year, and that Mr Hur seemed to accept it was reasonable that other witnesses could not recall events which, in some cases, occurred almost 15 years ago.

2. Biden stored classified documents next to a dog bed

In another section of the report, Mr Hur described how investigators who raised Mr Biden’s home in Delaware found scores of classified documents relating to Afghanistan in his cluttered garage.

The report said the files were discovered “near a collapsed dog crate, a dog bed, a Zappos box, an empty bucket, a broken lamp wrapped with duct tape, potting soil, and synthetic firewood”.

Files found in Biden's garage
Image caption, A number of classified files were found in Mr Biden’s cluttered garage

But it noted that a “reasonable juror could conclude that this is not where a person intentionally stores what he supposedly considers to be important classified documents, critical to his legacy”.

Instead, Mr Hur once again raised questions over Mr Biden’s memory, saying the discovery looked “like a place a person stores classified documents he has forgotten about or is unaware of”.

3. Biden thought Obama was making a major mistake with Afghanistan surge

Shortly after coming to office, Mr Obama became convinced that a surge of US forces into Afghanistan was the only way to maintain stability in the country.

Mr Biden, as previously stated, was strongly opposed to the policy.

The then vice-president viewed himself as “a historic figure” who frequently maintained diaries and records with a view to later writing his legacy.

The report says Mr Biden had a strong motive to keep the classified documents about Afghanistan because he wanted to prove that he was opposed to Mr Obama’s decision to send extra troops there.

He “believed President Obama’s 2009 troop surge was a mistake on par with Vietnam”, the report states, adding: “He wanted record to show that he was right about Afghanistan; that his critics were wrong.”

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4. Contrast drawn with evasive Trump

Mr Hur credits Mr Biden with immediately handing over the documents to investigators after he found them.

“Mr Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview. and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”

And he drew a strong distinction with former President Donald Trump, who he says adopted the opposite approach. Mr Trump is facing multiple charges for obstructing efforts to investigate the storage of the files at his Florida home. He denies the charges.

“Unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts.

“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr Trump allegedly did the opposite. According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.”

Mar-a-Lago
Image caption, Donald trump allegedly kept secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left office and obstructed government efforts to retrieve them

5. It was reasonable for Biden to keep some classified diaries

Mr Biden has long kept notebooks in which he would write classified information during meetings.

The report noted that during his eight years as vice-president, Mr Biden regularly kept notebooks that included details of classified subjects, including the President’s Daily Brief and National Security Council meetings.

These notebooks were later removed from the White House and discovered in unlocked drawers and from the basement of his Delaware and Virginia homes. Mr Biden, the report said, was aware the notebooks contained classified information but still read aloud from them to his ghostwriter.

But the report accepts that given the precedent set by former President Ronald Reagan – who also kept notebooks filled with classified information – that it may have been reasonable for Mr Biden to believe that he had a right to hold onto the information.

February 9th 2024

Blowing In The Wind – R J Cook

I will be discussing the Biden memory loss story tomorrow. My lack of personal reporting on this site is at the moment is due to the stress and weight of police legal proceedings against me over the last 16 years, culminating in their transhate arrest using fabriacted evidence alleging that I was a ‘gay whore’ working for my eldest son and ‘his associates’ in a home based brothel. I was a truck driver at the time but that does not matter in Police State Britain. Thames Valley Police even said I informed on myself !!!!

For Biden ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.’

The Clattering Train

Edwin J. Milliken

Quoted in reference to 1930s appeasement in The Gathering Storm. WSC s great memory recalled it from Punch, 4 October 1890, following a train wreck blamed on a sleeping crewman.


Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
Ten minutes behind at the Junction. Yes!
And we’re twenty now to the bad—no less!
At every mile we a minute must gain!
Who is in charge of the clattering train?

Why, flesh and blood, as a matter of course!
You may talk of iron, and prate of force;
But, after all, and do what you can….
Man is in charge of the thundering train!

2024 International Churchill Conference

Join us for the 41st International Churchill Conference. London | October 2024

Man, in the shape of a modest chap
In fustian trousers and greasy cap;
A trifle stolid, and something gruff,
Yet, though unpolished, of sturdy stuff….

Only a Man, but away at his back,
In a dozen cars, on the steely track,
A hundred passengers place their trust
In this fellow of fustian, grease, and dust….

The hiss of steam-spurts athwart the dark.
Lull them to confident drowsiness. Hark!
What is that sound? ‘Tis the stertorous breath
Of a slumbering man—and it smacks of death!
Full sixteen hours of continuous toil
Midst the fume of sulphur, the reek of oil,
Have told their tale on the man’s tired brain,
And Death is in charge of the clattering train!

Those poppy-fingers his head incline
Lower, lower, in slumber’s trance;
The shadows fleet, and the gas-gleams dance
Faster, faster in mazy flight,
As the engine flashes across the night.
Mortal muscle and human nerve
Cheap to purchase, and stout to serve.
Strained too fiercely will faint and swerve.
Over-weighted, and underpaid,
This human tool of exploiting Trade,
Though tougher than leather, tenser than steel.
Fails at last, for his senses reel,
His nerves collapse, and, with sleep-sealed eyes,
Prone and helpless a log he lies!
A hundred hearts beat placidly on,
Unwitting they that their warder’s gone;
A hundred lips are babbling blithe,
Some seconds hence they in pain may writhe.
For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;
And signals flash through the night in vain.
Death is in charge of the clattering train!

February 4th 2024

UK armed forces not ready for high-intensity war, MPs warn

Challenger 2 tank on Lulworth Range., Dorset

The UK’s armed forces will not be ready for a “high-intensity” war unless shortages in personnel and equipment are rapidly addressed, MPs have warned.

The Commons defence committee said personnel were leaving faster than they could be recruited, and the “offer” to them had to be improved.

A “vicious cycle” needed to be broken to allow the UK to face “increasingly challenging” threats, it added.

Increasing recruitment and improving retention was a priority, the MoD said.

Last month, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the Army and outgoing Chief of the General Staff. called for the country to train a volunteer “citizen army” ready to fight a land war, warning that an increase in reservist numbers alone “would not be enough”.

He highlighted the threat from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, and pointed to steps being taken by other European nations to put their populations on a “war footing”.

He also called for more to be done to equip and modernise the armed services.

Sir Patrick has previously argued for the need for a larger Army, whose professional ranks now number around 73,000, compared with around 100,000 in 2010.

The cross-party defence committee’s report, “Ready for war?”, found that, while it was a “matter of national pride” that whenever the armed forces were asked to act, they found a way, “overstretch has negatively impacted high intensity warfighting readiness due to the sheer pace of operations and other commitments”.

The MPs said they were “increasingly concerned” about a “crisis” in the recruitment and retention of both regular personnel and reservists, with operational demands making recovery and training harder to achieve.

As a result, the committee said, “it is unsurprising that more people are leaving the Forces than joining them”.

While acknowledging the problem and planning to address it, the government was not yet moving at the necessary pace to do so, it added.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson said: “Increasing recruitment and improving retention across the services is a top priority.

“Our armed forces are always ready to protect and defend the UK, and we continue to meet all operational commitments.”

Another area of concern highlighted was that the £1.95bn allocated for boosting ammunition stockpiles in last year’s Budget might be used to meet existing shortfalls in resources, rather than to replenish and increase capabilities.

£50bn is being spent on defence this year, the MoD spokesperson said, adding that spending on defence equipment has increased to £288.6bn over the next decade.

The MoD aims to raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

‘Difficult choices’

The MPs urged the MoD to reconsider and produce a breakdown of the allocation of money promised in the Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023 Budgets.

The committee also called for improvements in procurement processes to increase the UK’s industrial capacity and production of munitions, both in the context of the Ukraine conflict and any future war. 

This should include retaining retired equipment “even halfway viable for regeneration”, it said.

Former defence procurement minister Sir Jeremy Quin MP, who chairs the committee, described the armed services as a “world-class fighting force”, whose personnel demonstrated “immense bravery and flexibility, responding to a range of crises and threats worldwide without hesitation, never wavering in their commitment to protecting our nation”.  

But, he said, “a steady, continuous drip of operations and ongoing commitments”, together with a drop in retention and a period of low recruitment – which needed to be tackled “head on” – was undermining the country’s military readiness.

Sir Jeremy said the government must “start making difficult choices: either invest fully in our military or recognise that proper prioritisation of warfighting will mean less availability for other tasks”.

Speaking just days before Sir Patrick, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC the UK needed to be prepared for “a more dangerous world”.

He warned of growing risks posed by countries including China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorist groups.

However, when asked when the government would meet its target of spending 2.5% of national output on defence, he said he could not give an exact date, adding that the target would be met “when economic conditions allow”.

Comment Britain may not have the resources or brains by itself but is doing its best to suck in the rest of the world with its long time hatred of Russia and massive money grabbing plans. Russia knows how dangerous this country is and will use nuclear weapons if it has to.

R J Cook

February 2nd 2024

Imran Khan claims there’s a US conspiracy against him. Why do so many Pakistanis believe him?

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN  — 

Standing atop a truck, thronged by a huge crowd, a visibly enraged Imran Khan repeated the claim that has become a rallying cry for his millions of supporters.

Pakistan, the ousted former Prime Minister said, was being ruled by “traitors” installed by “a foreign conspiracy” plotted in the United States.

Khan was speakingearly Thursday in the capital, Islamabad, at what he said would be “the biggest ever protest” in the country’s history, after demonstrators clashed with security personnel and he was forced to curtail the event.

But his announcement came with a warning: “I’m giving this imported government six days to declare new elections. Otherwise, I will re-enter Islamabad with 2 million people.”

Rapturous cries of support and chants of outrage against the US and the current Pakistani administration, reverberated through the crowd.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he travels on a vehicle to lead a protest march in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 26, 2022.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he travels on a vehicle to lead a protest march in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 26, 2022. Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Khan’s claims of a US-led conspiracy against him have become a staple at the many rallies he has held across Pakistan in a bid to return to power following his ouster on April 10 in a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

The claims have struck a chord with a young population in a country where anti-American sentiment is common and anti-establishment feelings are being fueled by a rising cost of living crisis.

But Khan’s critics say there’s a problem with his claims: there is no evidence of a conspiracy.

Both the US and Pakistan’s military have vigorously denied Khan’s allegations, and the former Prime Minister has refused to offer anything substantive to back them up.

“Imran Khan is trying to tap into anti-American sentiments to mobilize support,” said Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US and the United Nations. Khan’s “loyal band of supporters [are] ready to discard facts and believe his foreign conspiracy narrative even though there isn’t a shred of evidence to support it.”

The aim, Lodhi said, is clear: Khan sees playing on decades-long animosities as his route back to power.

Police attempt to quell protests by supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party during a demonstration called by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad on May 26, 2022.

Police attempt to quell protests by supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party during a demonstration called by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad on May 26, 2022. Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

What are Khan’s conspiracy claims

Khan has repeatedly claimed that Donald Lu, assistant secretary of the US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, met Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington in March and told him that Khan should be dismissed from power in the no-confidence vote.

Khan told CNN Monday that Lu had threatened Pakistan would “suffer consequences” unless he was removed from power.

“There is no truth to these allegations,” a US State Department spokesperson told CNN, having previously denied involvement in Khan’s ouster.

When asked to provide evidence for his claims, Khan said there were note takers on both the US and Pakistani sides at the meeting, but did not answer directly when asked whether he would make any notes public – for each of the allegations.

He also said with evidence that a cipher – an encoded diplomatic cable – outlining the details of the meeting sent from the Pakistani ambassador had been forwarded to Pakistan’s cabinet. Khan claimed he presented the minutes from that meeting to Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC).

The NSC last month staunchly rejected Khan’s accusations, saying in a statement they have “found no evidence of any conspiracy.”

Khan has also said he is aware that his official visit to Moscow in late February, coinciding with the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, likely rankled American officials.

Khan has also previously accused Pakistan’s military and opposition led by current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of conspiring with the US, which they both deny.

“People are so incensed and feel insulted that these criminals have been foisted upon us,” Khan said.

A history of distrust

To understand how even the flimsiest of conspiracy theories could prove such a potent rallying tool in this South Asian democracy of 220 million people, experts point to mutual distrust that has been festering for decades.

It’s a remarkable period of time that spans wars on Pakistan’s doorstep, perceived betrayals, special forces operations and rogue CIA contractors. Against that backdrop, according to Islamabad-based political analyst Hussain Nadim, “foreign conspiracies don’t appear too outlandish.”

khan becky

Exclusive: Pakistan’s Imran Khan doubles down on ​unfounded claim that US plotted his downfall 

In fact, they are “believable,” he said.

Much of the distrust stems from events in neighboring Afghanistan, where many Pakistanis blame US actions for destablilizing their own country – including attacks by Afghanistan-based militants on Pakistani soil.

Fresh in Pakistani minds are the chaotic scenes of Afghans, desperate to escape the advancing Taliban, clinging to the wheels of planes taking off from Kabul airport in August 2021. And as the security situation deteriorates, many Pakistanis sense it is they who will pay the price.

The 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks – when it launched its hunt for Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network – only deepened the divide.

Residents gather outside a house, where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was caught and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 3, 2011.

Residents gather outside a house, where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was caught and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 3, 2011.Anjum Naveed/AP

While Pakistan was early to sign up to George W. Bush’s “war on terror,” many in the Muslim-majority country saw the invasion – and the subsequent war in Iraq – as targeting Islam.

A string of wartime controversies exacerbated this feeling; Islamabad accused the US of killing thousands of Pakistanis in drone attacks on Pakistani soil and felt humiliated when the US did not give it advance warning of US Navy Seals’ raid on Bin Laden’s hideout in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad in 2011.

Its anger was exacerbated by a fake vaccination program the CIA carried out in a bid to collect DNA samples to verify Bin Laden’s presence at the compound. The operation was a success in American eyes, but Pakistanis responded with vaccine skepticism, anger and violence.

Pakistani security officials escort Raymond Davis, center, to a court in Lahore on January 28, 2011.

Pakistani security officials escort Raymond Davis, center, to a court in Lahore on January 28, 2011.Hamza Ahmed/AP

In 2011, an American CIA contractor named Raymond Davis killed two Pakistani men in Lahore. Davis claimed he shot the men in self-defense when they attempted to rob him at gunpoint, but authorities at the time called the case “clear-cut murder.”

He was charged with murder and illegal possession of a firearm, but was acquitted after more than $2 million in compensation was paid to the victims’ families. The incident heightened tensions between the two nations, with Congress warning Pakistani leaders that billions of dollars in US aid could be jeopardized without Davis’ release.

Such events have caused “irreparable damage to trust,” according to Hassan Kamal Wattoo, a lawyer and columnist in Islamabad, who added it is “lending credibility to the belief that shadowy figures are plotting against Pakistan from afar.”

‘Blind belief’

This troubled history goes some way to explaining why even when Khan was in office – apart from a brief period of congeniality with former US President Donald Trump – he was keen to play the anti-American card.

Now he is seeking a return to power, Khan is reaching for a familiar tool to rally support, said Madiha Afzal, a foreign policy fellow at The Brookings Institution.

“This is part of a long history of conspiracy theories gaining traction in Pakistan, especially about the West’s role in the country,” she said.

“It is something his supporters believe blindly.”

Khan’s stellar cricket career has ensured his enduring appeal with voters. Riding a wave of popular support, he was elected four years ago on a promise to eradicate poverty and corruption and to build a “new Pakistan.”

According to Brookings Institute’s Afzal, Khan’s supporters have been drawn by the former Prime Minister’s argument that it’s the corruption of the traditional parties “that have ruled Pakistan through much of its democratic period that is at the root of Pakistan’s problems.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gestures during a guard of honour ceremony in Islamabad on April 12, 2022.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gestures during a guard of honour ceremony in Islamabad on April 12, 2022. Reuters

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif – who led the campaign to remove Khan as prime minister along with his his ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party – is a steel dynasty scion who faces unresolved corruption charges.

His brother Nawaz Sharif is a three-time former Prime Minister who has been charged with corruption and has been barred by Pakistan’s highest court from holding political office.

According to former ambassador Lodhi, there is now “a wave of sympathy for Khan” because of how he was overthrown.

And Wattoo, the lawyer, said Khan’s supporters see him as a “wildly independent, fearless alternative to a more conventional political elite.”

What happens next?

It’s yet to be seen whether that support will be enough to return Khan to power. But what seems clear is that, more than a month into office, Shehbaz Sharif’s government has done little to get to grips with the rising inflation and mounting economic crisis that contributed to Khan’s ouster.

While the government on Thursday lifted a cap on fuel prices, which will allow a much-needed deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to go through, Karachi-based finance journalist Ariba Shahid said the jostling for power was only making things more difficult.

Shehbaz Sharif speaks during a press conference after the Supreme Court decision, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Who is Pakistan’s new Prime Minister? Steel dynasty scion Shehbaz Sharif inherits an ailing economy amid political turmoil

“This need for political clout is costing the average Pakistani long-term inflation, a fast-depreciating rupee, and eventually greater taxes to make up for the large deficit,” she said.

Meanwhile, Khan’s popularity has “soared to unprecedented heights,” said Nadim, the political analyst.

To his supporters – primarily young, middle class and tired of corruption and the political elite – Khan is still the obvious choice as the country’s leader.

“(His ouster) gave him victimhood and made him a political tragedy,” Nadim said, adding they were “two very powerful emotions” that had galvanized Khan’s public support.

Comment The Anglo U.S Ruling elite and EU poodles patronise the old third world, but those countries must not get anywhere without them. Western elites love diversity because it is the same old divide and rule mentality and cheap labour greed. Imran Khan upset the western Russia bashing conspiracy when he attempted a favourable energy supply trade deal with Russia at the time of the Anglo U.S led proxy war on Russia in the bogus name of Ukraine.

R J Cook

January 31st 2024

Arizona Republican Proposes Bill That Would Allow Politicians To Overturn Elections

The bill in question says “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.”

Matt Shuham

By Matt Shuham

30/01/2024 09:57pm GMT

Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern (R), a “fake elector” for Donald Trump in 2020 who was also photographed on Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 attack, has filed a longshot proposal to allow Arizona politicians to overturn the will of voters in presidential elections.

It’s the latest in a long line of similar bills in Arizona, where Joe Biden won the popular vote in 2020 — fueling years of Republican rage, baseless “audits” of the vote, and preemptive attempts to deliver the state for Trump in 2024.

Currently, Arizona voters, via a standard popular vote, decide who’s awarded the state’s 11 presidential electors. Presidential candidates generally need at least 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House.

Kern’s new bill, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, would let state legislators decide how Electoral College votes are assigned in Arizona. After some introductory text, the bill is extremely short:

Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona, the House of Representatives concurring:

1. That the Legislature shall remain in session during years in which presidential elections are held; and

2. That the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors in accordance with the United States Constitution.

If enough legislators support the bill, it could eventually appear on ballots statewide, and voters would decide whether the Arizona constitution should be amended to reflect its language. But right now, that’s unlikely: The bill has no co-sponsors and hasn’t been assigned to a committee for consideration.

Asked about his bill, Kern declined comment, except to say that “you are a complete idiot and the Huffington Post is an enemy of the American people.”

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Kern is running for an open congressional seat this year. He didn’t respond to an additional question about whether he would expand his bill and allow the state legislature to decide congressional elections.

Kern has a long history of pushing election falsehoods.

After the 2020 election, he was one of 11 prominent Republicans who posed as Arizona electors and signed a false “Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Arizona,” which incorrectly stated that Trump had won Arizona’s presidential election. Fake electors who pulled the same move in Michigan, Georgia and Nevada currently face criminal charges, while fake Trump electors in Wisconsin settled a lawsuit agreeing that they were “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

Arizona’s fake electors are under investigation by the state’s attorney general’s office. Kern has said he will not cooperate with the probe, maintaining that he did nothing illegal and that he merely signed the false certification document as an “alternate elector.”

Kern was also photographed close to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but there is no evidence he entered the building.

Newly reviewed footage shows former GOP lawmaker Anthony Kern in an area of the US Capitol that rioters breached on Jan. 6, from @JerodMacEvoy https://t.co/4J2LZwy9zX— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) May 5, 2021

A few months later, Kern attempted to take part in the widely criticized “audit” of Arizona’s 2020 election results, even though he himself was on the ballot in the state. (That bid for a state House seat was unsuccessful.). Once journalists noted his presence at a ballot-counting table — and noted that the ballots Kern was counting contained his own name — a spokesperson for the audit effort, Ken Bennett, acknowledged that it “wasn’t the best optics” and said Kern had been barred from counting ballots.

Kern’s bill isn’t the first attempt to allow Arizona’s legislature to overturn elections. Previous bills that would have given state lawmakers similar powers include one from then-state Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R) in 2021 and another from then-state Rep. John Fillmore (R) in 2022. Bolick’s bill would have let the legislature overturn the certification of a presidential election “at any time before the presidential inauguration,” and Fillmore’s bill would have given lawmakers the authority to “accept or reject the election results” after reviewing the ballot tabulation process for any regular primary or general election. Both bills ultimately sputtered out.

In 2020, Mark Finchem and Kelly Townsend, both Republican state representatives at the time, unsuccessfully urged their colleagues in the legislature to, in Townsend’s words, “use our Article 2 power and choose the electors after everything we have seen here.”

Comment Like the rest of the sanctimonious western world, the United States has no right to be called a democracy. The Brokered Convention is coming.

R J Cook

Why the Right fears Taylor Swift
Will the girlies swarm for Biden?
BY Mary Harrington

In pop music, one of the most time-honoured devices for upping the emotional ante is known colloquially as the “Truck Driver’s Gear Change”. In it, the melody stays the same, but is modulated up a whole note, with the effect of raising the emotional pitch. It’s a common device, but my (and my daughter’s) favourite modern example comes from Taylor Swift.

Released in 2008, Swift’s “Love Story” recounts the frustrations of a young “Juliet” kept away from her “Romeo” but longing for him to carry her away. In the final stanza, the song’s “Romeo” unexpectedly kneels and — cue Truck Driver’s Gear Change — proposes marriage. It’s hugely satisfying, emotionally powerful — and, in a way Swift has always instinctively grasped, it’s a story drawn straight from the collective female unconscious.

The central trope in “Love Story” is that of most romance novels: true love whose course doesn’t run smooth, but which ends Happily Ever After. It is, perhaps, the most conservative of all plot lines. So why, amid rumours that Swift’s own much-publicised romance with American football star Travis Kelce may be on the brink of its own emotional gear change, do conservatives seem to be furious with the real-life “Love Story” heroine, Taylor Swift?

The hate is not exactly new. Last year, MAGA activist Laura Loomer posted a long and impressively swivel-eyed X screed about how the Soros family has induced Taylor Swift to help the Democrats manipulate the media, in exchange for re-acquiring the rights to her own music catalogue. But the incipient lunacy of the 2024 US election cycle, plus Biden calling on Swift for an endorsement, seem to have inflamed the hatred to fresh levels. Presidential also-ran Vivek Ramaswamy, for example, has popped up with a nudge-nudge about the Superbowl being rigged for Kelce’s team.

So, is Swift a Democrat media-manipulation asset? I doubt it. But if we view conspiracies poetically rather than literally, we might say a deeper intuition is at work: a sense that the cultural force embodied by Swift is both a political loose cannon, and one that has very little to do with traditional democratic politics. And, worse (from the perspective of Loomer and her like), it’s a force the Right neither understands well, nor has much prospect of turning to their advantage.

More from this author

The curse of warrior women

By Mary Harrington

The force in question is internet-enabled swarms. There are a great many instances of this phenomenon, but Taylor Swift’s collective fandom — or “Swifties”, as they are known — represent perhaps the largest and most well-known. They can also, occasionally, have startling effects in the real world. In 2022, for example, after Ticketmaster crashed during a surge of unprecedented demand for tickets to the singer’s Eras tour, Swifties enraged by the ticketing firm’s dodgy practices mobilised to break up the company: a campaign that is now bearing fruit. And just last week, after obscene AI deepfakes of Swift were released, the Swifties swarmed again, drowning out the fake images and prompting calls in Congress for greater regulation on such tools.

And perhaps here we can grasp the contours of what the conspiracy-theorists are gesturing at, however clumsily, when they claim that “Taylor Swift is a psyop”. When public discourse comprises a host of overlapping swarms, of which Swifties are only one of the better-known and more prominent ones, politics simply doesn’t work the way it used to. Just recently, the think-pieces and polls have woken up to this — speculating on whether, or how, Taylor Swift might shift the upcoming US election.

And if there’s a weirdly misogynistic edge to the boos and “empty egg carton” jokes (referring to 34-year-old Swift’s supposedly diminished fertility) prompted by media images of Swift doing girlfriend stuff, this is less for who she is than what she represents. For this isn’t just “popular music women really like” but something far more insidious and wide-ranging: her role as metonym for the female-coded phenomenon of swarmism.

Suggested reading

Why Taylor Swift can’t deny being gay

By Kat Rosenfield

Infectious emotions are not uniquely female, but studies suggest women are more prone to them. Anyone who has ever observed a group of teenage girls will recognise the way, whether in real life or via internet channels, emotions felt by one member of the group refract and are amplified by others. This process is, in turn, linked to the well-documented prevalence of conversion symptoms and social contagion among adolescent girls, such as the pandemic-era outbreak of “TikTok tics” among a predominantly teenage female cohort — or, more darkly still, the teenage girls’ Instagram suicide group uncovered by police in 2021.

In other words: swarmism can harm, or even kill. It’s also radically intensified by the internet. Part of the joy of fandoms and online subcultures is the sheer pleasure of getting caught up in its contagions. The kind of high-intensity stampede common on social media is also, now, a potent political force. It was at least partly the power of online swarm consensus that powered the duration and intensity of Covid measures, while punishing dissent using (again, very feminine) sanctions such as social ostracism and character assassination.

Now, as we roll into a crunch election year across numerous very online democratic nations including Britain, Germany and the United States, it seems more than likely that swarmism will play a crucial role. And this perhaps explains the Right-wing panic over Swift. For many conservatives — especially older conservatives — simply do not understand how swarm politics works, or how to exploit it for political advantage.

More from this author

The dark truth about Taylor Swift

By Mary Harrington

Conservatives are also, by and large, fairly inept at mobilising female-dominated swarms. And the genius of Swift lies in her capacity to render, musically, the emotional landscapes of young women; it’s no surprise that her internet-enabled fandom should be among the largest, most emotionally labile, and most female in existence. Given the now widely-noted global phenomenon of sex-divided political fandoms, in which the Left leans female and the Right male, it’s therefore reasonable to assume that Swifties are likely to be structurally Left-wing.

To the misogynistic subtext of Swift hate, we can perhaps add a side order of resentment that the Left possess such a potent and well-organised potential swarm ally — even if that swarm’s figurehead seems currently mostly occupied with falling in love and doing silly dances at NFL games. Swarms can be dangerous; but they can also tip the scales for your side. For conservatives — and especially those conservatives who still believe in pre-internet stuff like facts and logic — the mechanisms whereby a swarm can be persuaded to do so are largely mysterious. And under it all lurks the suspicion that there’s just something girly and therefore low-status about the whole business.

But despite this ineptitude, they are going to have to learn. For while swarmism may be female-coded, not all swarms are female-dominated, and nor is the phenomenon likely to disappear any time soon. Arguably the American Right-winger who grasps this most instinctively is Donald Trump, who has sailed serenely through his party’s primaries without participating in a single debate — and who is nonetheless already being hailed as the likely next POTUS even by the Davos elite.

Suggested reading

Plagiarism laws are killing music

By Dorian Lynskey

Trump instinctively grasps internet demagoguery. But I can see how, for less adept conservative internet denizens, the femaleness of Swifties and Swift herself, plus women’s broader tilt away from Right-coded fandoms might make the emerging power of swarm politics look, in aggregate, like a sinister girly plot against the Right. So, when the stakes are this high, it’s probably too much to hope that anyone might see a successful young woman enjoying the third-stanza emotional gear-change in her own personal Love Story, wish her well, and leave it at that. For the swarm significance of Taylor Swift is simply too vast for her to be left in peace. No matter how resentfully the pre-internet Right may barrack her for it, the truth is that with or without her, the internet’s meme polities are not going back into their box.

This bodes ill for representative democracy on the pre-internet model. The emotional contagions of the networked world are transnational, near-instantaneous, and as emotionally changeable as adolescent girls, but with vastly greater power to affect policy or even take lives. But it also stands as a warning to the Right: future shots at power will stand or fall on conservatives’ willingness to make peace with the swarm.

January 30th 2024

Ukraine war: What Russia’s escalating air attacks mean

By James Waterhouse & Toby Luckhurst

in Kyiv

Russia’s Vladimir Putin vowed to increase attacks on Ukraine – now Kyiv is realising what he meant.

On Tuesday night President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched 500 missiles and drones against Ukraine in just five days.

At least 32 people have died in Ukraine’s capital in that time, 30 of them in one attack – on 29 December, when Russia launched one of the largest ever aerial attacks of this war.

And it’s not just the capital. Nearly 60 people have been killed nationwide, with Kharkiv in the northeast, Zaporizhzhia in the south, Odesa on the southern coast and even Lviv in the far west all suffering strikes.

Since launching its invasion Russia has never stopped attacking Ukraine by the air, but this latest series of strikes marks a deadly escalation.

What does this new phase in the war mean for Ukraine? And what’s the plan behind Russia’s renewed aerial assault?

Changing tactics

Ukraine has not seen attacks as heavy as this since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

And what’s different is not just the size of the strikes – it’s the tactics.

The attack on 2 January lasted for six hours in Kyiv. The Russians launched a wave of drones at the capital. Ukraine’s air force said it was able to shoot down all 35 of them.

But this was followed up with missile attacks, using different kinds of weapons in a bid to overwhelm and break through the city’s defences.

Missiles have struck the very heart of Kyiv in these last five days, for the first time in months.

“They’re always trying to find a better way to break our air defence systems and make their attack more efficient,” Oleksandr Musiyenko at Ukraine’s Center for Military Legal Research told the BBC.

People outside a missile-struck building in Kyiv
Image caption, Missiles struck the very centre of Kyiv in the last five days, for the first time in months

That means using different kinds of missiles – hypersonic, cruise, and ballistic – but also firing these missiles along different routes. These weapons can change direction in the air over Ukraine, causing further headaches for air defence.

Russia is also varying its focus. On 29 December, it aimed its weapons at cities across the country – on 2 January, just at Kyiv and Kharkiv.

“The Russians tried to concentrate their attacking power… and just aim at one or two cities,” Mr Musiyenko said.

The way Russia prepares for these strikes is changing too. Ukraine’s intelligence service, the SBU, reported on Tuesday it had found and deactivated “two robotic online surveillance cameras” that it says were hacked by Russia to spy on Kyiv’s defences and scout out targets.

It’s not clear how long Russia can keep carrying out these large scale strikes.

Analysis carried out by Ukrainian media suggests the attack on 29 December cost $1.273bn (£1.01bn) alone – while the attack on 2 January cost an extra $620 million (£491m), according to Forbes magazine.

Ukraine had feared ahead of the winter that Russia was stockpiling weapons for large-scale attacks.

Analysis published in Le Monde quotes Ukrainian officials who said Russia still has in its stockpile around 1,000 ballistic or cruise missiles, and is able to make around 100 more per month – such as Kalibrs and Kh-101s.

But Mr Musiyenko says that Ukraine has also been preparing.

Ukraine uses German-made Gepard anti-aircraft guns to tackle incoming drones, while Soviet-era Buk systems are used against cruise missiles and US-made Patriots against hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

A Ukrainian using a Gepard
Image caption, German-made Gepards are used to shoot down Russian drones

“We divided our systems for different types of threats,” he says, though of course this means relying on the West for ammunition and maintenance. “So of course it’s very important for us to get this support.”

That is a key point now for Kyiv.

With US aid bogged down in political infighting and the EU failing to produce even half of the one million artillery shells it promised by the end of 2023, Russia may well be launching these vast attacks at a time when Ukraine’s supplies could be drying up.

Additional reporting by Anastasiia Levchenko and Hanna Chornous

How The World Ends


War, What Is It Good For? From F.S Out West

War, What Is It Good For? Absolutely nothin’! NE – nakedemperor.substack.com Jan 24   READ IN APP   Once again, the Western world is moving in lockstep, this time on the topic of war. They have enlisted the help of the Main Stream Media to beat the war drums. The head of the British army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said that the British people are “part of a ‘prewar generation’ who may have to prepare themselves to fight in a war against an increasingly aggressive Russia”. General Sanders warned that the public might be called up to fight because the military is too small. In his recent speech he said the army needs to urgently expand but even that is not enough and training and equipping a “citizen army” must follow. The Telegraph reports that the General wants to “mobilise the nation” in preparation for a war with Russia. This is clearly something the powers-that-be want you know and worry about because it is in every Mainstream news outlet. And whilst No 10 are denying the proposition, a number of the papers are planting the seed of conscription. This was abolished in the ‘60s but could be reintroduced if “the UK was directly threatened by another country”. I wonder why the military is struggling to recruit? This article points out that “White men no longer want to fight for a nation that scorns them”. The US Army has seen an unprecedented drop in the number of white recruits according to Military.com. Apparently, the army was 10,000 short of its 65,000 enlistment target. But setting aside why numbers are dropping, why is there a sudden push to tell us we will be in World War III soon? Last week, Admiral Rob Bauer of the Royal Netherlands Navy said that “civilians would have to be mobilised in large numbers if war broke out, and governments would have to prepare for how to manage that process”. The Admiral warned of a hot war with Russia saying “We have to realise it’s not a given that we are in peace. And that’s why we [Nato forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia,”. He continued, “But the discussion is much wider. It is also the industrial base and also the people that have to understand they play a role.” “It starts there,” Bauer continued, adding “The realisation that not everything is plannable and not everything is going to be hunky dory in the next 20 years.” Separately, Bauer warned the West to be ready for “anything”. NATO countries need to be on red alert for war and “expect the unexpected,” he said. “In order to be fully effective, also in the future, we need a warfighting transformation of NATO,” said Bauer during a meeting of military chiefs in Brussels. “For this too, public-private cooperation will be the key.” “The tectonic plates of power are shifting,” he added. “And as a result: We face the most dangerous world in decades.” Sweden has been telling its citizens a similar story. It’s civil defence minister said “There could be war in Sweden… The world is facing a security outlook with greater risks than at any time since the end of the Second World War”. “Are you a private individual? Have you considered whether you have time to join a voluntary defence organisation? If not: get moving!” he declared. Poland has warned its citizens that it will have 6 hours to report for duty. “On January 13, Poland passed a completely radical new form of conscription card intended in the event of mobilization and during a war. The changes in this formula are significant, with the 6-hour notice and the drastic penalties for failing to report to the army in such situations clearly showing the backdrop intent for war”. This comes as NATO is to hold its biggest drills since the Cold War with 90,000 troops. “NATO is rehearsing how U.S. troops could reinforce European allies in countries bordering Russia and on the alliance’s eastern flank if a conflict were to flare up with a “near-peer” adversary. Some 90,000 troops are due to join the Steadfast Defender 2024 drills that will run through May, the alliance’s top commander Chris Cavoli said on Thursday”. We are currently in the eye of the storm – one crisis has passed so we think its all over but the raging winds are swirling around us, unnoticed. These are dangerous times and we are clearly being prepared to expect a massive war on the horizon. UK MP, Tobias Ellwood said today that “there’s a 1939 feel to the world right now”. But the real danger comes from a Western world drowning in debt. The financial system is creaking and at any point could blow. Is this all linked to an energy crisis? I’m 50/50 on this but am enjoying the debates people are having under my articles. An energy crisis would certainly explain a lot but even if there is not one, our neo-Malthusian overlords are acting as if there is. Our adversaries are sensing this weakness in the West. It is obvious to all and they are preparing to attack when we will be at our weakest. But if they do attack, who will be left to fight? As someone else posted today, I will happily go to the trenches as long as our politicians get in there first. This guarantees that I will never go in the trenches. Share The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. For the full experience, © 2024 Naked Emperor
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At least half of Gaza’s buildings damaged or destroyed, new analysis shows

By Daniele Palumbo, Abdelrahman Abutaleb, Paul Cusiac & Erwan Rivault

BBC Verify & BBC Arabic

More than half of Gaza’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed since Israel launched its retaliation for the Hamas attacks of 7 October, new analysis seen by the BBC reveals.

Detailed before-and-after imagery also shows how the bombardment of southern and central Gaza has intensified since the start of December, with the city of Khan Younis bearing much of the brunt of Israel’s military action.

Israel has repeatedly told Gazans to move south for their own safety.

Across Gaza, residential areas have been left ruined, previously busy shopping streets reduced to rubble, universities destroyed and farmlands churned up, with tent cities springing up on the southern border to house many thousands of people left homeless.

About 1.7 million people – more than 80% of Gaza’s population – are displaced, with nearly half crammed in the far southern end of the strip, according to the United Nations.

Further analysis, by BBC Verify, reveals the scale of destruction of farmland, identifying multiple areas of extensive damage.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it is targeting both Hamas fighters and “terror infrastructure”, when challenged over the scale of damage.

Now, satellite data analysis obtained by the BBC shows the true extent of the destruction. The analysis suggests between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings across the whole Gaza Strip have been damaged or destroyed. That’s between 50% and 61% of Gaza’s buildings.

The analysis, carried out by Corey Scher of City University of New York and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University, compares images to reveal sudden changes in the height or structure of buildings which indicate damage.

A map graphic showing the increasing damage across Gaza from October to November to January

Devastation moves south

The southern city of Khan Younis has been particularly badly hit in recent weeks, with more than 38,000 (or more than 46%) of buildings now destroyed or damaged, according to the analysis. Over the past fortnight, more than 1,500 buildings have been destroyed or damaged there.

Al-Farra Tower – a 16-storey residential block in the centre of the city, the tallest building in the area – was flattened on 9 January as can be seen in before-and-after images of the city’s skyline. Much of the neighbourhood in which it sits has been levelled by Israeli attacks since late December.

https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/16485300/embed?auto=1

“Israeli forces targeted residential complexes, especially in the downtown Khan Younis area,” said Rawan Qaddah, a 20-year-old resident, who has been displaced and has lost contact with her family.

She named schools among the many buildings which had been damaged. Some were now being used to house displaced people temporarily.

https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.51.0/iframe.html

January 29th 2024

US presidential election heads toward Trump-Biden contest

The choice between the Republican fascist and the Democratic warmonger and enabler of genocide in Gaza is no choice at all. The alternative must come from the working class.

Read more

Comment This is not my view of Trump but is spot on with Biden. Socialists are rather unrealistic about human nature and the world at large. To the comfortable patronising New Liberal Left, a fascist is anyone who doesn’t believe in uncontrolled immigration and the so called healthy diversity that comes with it. Because of these so called liberal and feminists’ dominance, we have the chaos corruption and seemingly inevitable World Three.

R J Cook

New Nazis ?

Khan Younis besieged as Netanyahu calls for the “eradication of the new Nazis”

The IDF’s order to evacuate a swathe of Khan Younis, requiring more than half a million people to leave in a matter of hours with nowhere to go, was intended only to justify the mass killings of civilians.

Read more

January 27th 2024

Must Get Trump – Beauty & The Beast by R J Cook

Donald Trump campaigning in New Hampshire. The black Republican Governor covers his right flank. White liberals and Third World Dictators need blacks to see themselves as ‘victims’ as they do with women. Trump is a threat to this poison. Mainstream media like CNN & BBC will have us believe that Trump is not only a beast, but a sex beast..
Nikki Haley looking confident and srunning in an expensive blue dress lnforms her audience that she is ‘scrappy’ and not dropping out in spite of her massive defeat in the Primaries. She and her supporters have already spent over $100 million. She is perssistent in the hope that Trump’s legal battles will support a brokered convention for the delegates to overturn any Trump victory.
This village is predominantly peopled by Muslims. Their votes count and they don’t like Trump as a rule.
A U.S Homeless encampment, a far cry from the superficial U.S image pumped out to the U.K masses, shows like ‘Friends’, ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother.’
U.S Miltitary assests ready to fight off Russia’s proxy Iran who are backing the Houthis in the vital Red Sea, widening the scope of the World War III that the Anglo U.S elite have been asking for since Gulf War Two and the Minsk Agreements.

Jury says Trump must pay $83.3 million in damages for defaming journalist E. Jean Carroll

Donald Trump was ordered by a federal jury on Friday to pay $83.3 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll, who accused the former US president of destroying her reputation as a trustworthy journalist by denying he raped her nearly three decades ago.

Issued on: 26/01/2024 – 22:45Modified: 27/01/2024 – 16:16

3 min

In this sketch, Donald Trump is seen walking out of the Federal courtroom in New York on January 26, 2024.

01:24 In this sketch, Donald Trump is seen walking out of the Federal courtroom in New York on January 26, 2024. © Elizabeth Williams, AP

By: NEWS WIRES

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The seven-man, two-woman jury needed less than three hours to reach the verdict. The payout far exceeded the minimum $10 million that Carroll had been seeking.

The jury awarded her $18.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages.

Carroll, 80, sued Trump in November 2019 over his denials five months earlier that he had raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

Trump, 77, claimed that he had never heard of Carroll, and that she made up her story to boost sales of her memoir.

01:25

His lawyers said Carroll was hungry for fame and enjoyed the attention from supporters for speaking out against her nemesis.

Another jury last May ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million over a similar October 2022 denial, finding that he had defamed and sexually abused Carroll. Trump is appealing that decision.

In the current trial, Carroll said Trump “shattered” her reputation as a respected journalist who told the truth.

She also said punitive damages were appropriate, in part to keep Trump from repeating his denials.

Trump’s campaign

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw both trials, said the earlier verdict was binding for the second trial, meaning the only issue for jurors was how much Trump should pay.

Trump, a Republican, has used Carroll’s case and his other legal travails to bolster his campaign to retake the White House in the November election in a likely showdown against Democrat Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.

Trump faces 91 felony counts in four criminal indictments, including two cases accusing him of trying to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss. He has pleaded not guilty in all of the cases, and has portrayed himself as the victim of politically motivated lies and an out-of-control judicial system.

During the Carroll trial, Trump was heard muttering in court that the case was a “con job” and “witch hunt” and that he still did not know who Carroll was, prompting the judge to twice admonish him to keep quiet.

Trump stalked out of the courtroom during the closing argument on Friday by Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, but returned for his own lawyer’s argument.

Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, had argued that Trump acted as though he wasn’t bound by the law.

“This trial is about getting him to stop, once and for all,” she added. “Now is the time to make him pay for it dearly.”

‘Cocoon of love’

Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba countered that it was the publication of excerpts from Carroll’s memoir in New York magazine that triggered the attacks, not Trump’s denials that began five hours later.

She also argued that Carroll enjoyed her newfound fame and was “happier than ever,” citing her testimony that she had entered a “cocoon of love” from her supporters.

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A Northwestern University damages expert who testified on Carroll’s behalf estimated the reputational harm from Trump’s statements was $7.3 million to $12.1 million.

On Thursday, Trump spent only four minutes defending himself on the witness stand after Judge Kaplan forbade him and his lawyers from revisiting issues that the first trial had settled.

Trump was allowed to confirm his October 2022 deposition testimony, which jurors had been shown, in which he called Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and said she was “mentally sick”. 

Carroll wrote the “Ask E. Jean” column for Elle from 1993 to 2019, and often appeared on such programs as NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America”. She said those appearances dried up because of Trump.

January 26th 2024

Europe

Conflicts & Crises

41:27 Now playing

‘Putin needs war’ in Europe, NATO must prepare to stop Russia | Dr Jamie Shea

Times Radio

Comment Complete lie. It is U.K, Europe and the United States who need a war with Russia – hence the need to smear Trump. I fear they will get their way. R J Cook

Why is Sweden telling its citizens to prepare for war?

Image

two men standing at podiums

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson attend a joint news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (Photo: Efrem Lukatsky / AP)

Copied to clipboard

By Hope O’Dell

Posted January 24, 2024 | Updated on Jan 24, 2024

In short: Sweden’s military commander-in-chief Gen. Micael Bydén said all Swedes should mentally prepare for the possibility of war as the country moves toward joining NATO. Member countries, including Poland and Germany, have said that within the next decade Russia could attack nations that have joined the military alliance. Bydén warned that “Russia’s war against Ukraine is just a step, not an end game.” Members of Sweden’s opposition party have criticized how the message was delivered.

Why did Sweden tell its citizens to prepare for war?

At an annual security and defense conference in Sweden on Jan. 7, the country’s civil defense minister, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, told attendees, “There could be war in Sweden.” Sweden’s chief of defense Micael Bydén echoed Bohlin, saying the Swedish population should mentally prepare for the possibility.

A history of neutrality

Sweden has not been involved in a war since 1814 and has “pursued a policy of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime, basing its security on a strong national defense,” according to the Swedish government. Every person in Sweden between the ages of 16 and 70 is put in Sweden’s conscription service, and if called up must perform either military, civilian or general compulsory service. Once someone turns 18 in Sweden, they may also be enlisted and go through basic training and perform military service.

The Swedish defense officials’ concern was prompted by two recent developments: Sweden’s expected acceptance into NATO and increased threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin against neighboring NATO nations.   

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022, just months after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The move signaled a break from a history of neutrality for both countries. Sweden’s then prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said at the time that Russia’s invasion threatened Europe’s security order and made Sweden’s need for guaranteed security granted through NATO membership apparent.

“Should Sweden be the only country in the Baltic Sea region that was not a member of NATO, we would be in a very vulnerable position. We can’t rule out that Russia would then increase pressure on Sweden,” she said.

What is NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, is a 31-country alliance of countries bound together by the principle of collective defense, where if one NATO member is attacked, they are all considered attacked.

Finland’s membership was approved in April 2023, while Sweden’s is currently held up, awaiting approval from NATO member Hungary, which maintains ties to Russia. Turkey had also been holding up the Nordic country’s membership, but approved Sweden’s bid on Jan. 23.  

Russia’s relationship with NATO has historically been tense, but tensions grew when the international alliance considered Ukrainian membership. After Finland’s acceptance into NATO, Russia warned the country would be “the first to suffer” if tensions between Russia and NATO worsen.  

Sweden has been providing Ukraine with aid as it fights against Russia’s invasion, including donating tanks.

Other NATO countries have also warned of a potential Russian attack against member nations. Poland’s national security agency said Russia could attack NATO countries in less than three years, while Germany’s defense minister said the attack could occur in five to eight years.

How did Sweden react to the warnings?

Andersson,  now leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, said that while there is a clear Russian threat to Sweden, the defense officials’ delivery was “divisive” and ineffective.  

“A lot of people are very, very worried. So it’s important for the government to follow up on the communication that’s been going on,” she said. “This is a big responsibility for the government.”

Swedish commentator and journalist Göran Greider wrote in an op-ed in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that he believed the warnings showed “a secret longing to finally test the Swedish fighting forces,” and that the real message was: “Give us more money.”

Increasing defense spending

Sweden has been increasing its defense spending to meet the amount required by NATO – 2% of a country’s GDP. Sweden’s proposed 2024 budget has nearly double the defense spending compared to its 2020 budget. In December 2023, Sweden and the U.S. also signed an agreement setting conditions under which U.S. troops can operate in Sweden.

After the warnings were issued, the Swedish civil contingencies agency, also known as MSB, said there was a 3,500% increase in visits to the agency’s online bomb shelter map and a 900% increase in downloads of a pamphlet called “If crisis or war comes.”

A Swedish children’s rights organization, Bris, said that as videos of the top defense officials’ warning of war began circulating on TikTok, they experienced an uptick in calls to their mental health hotline.

“They should have provided information meant for kids when they come out with this kind of information for grown-ups,” Bris spokesperson Maja Dahl told the BBC.

In response to criticism over the warnings, Bydén said, “My ambition with this is not to worry people; my ambition is to get more people to think about their own situation and their own responsibilities.”

How did Russia respond?

Russia was also critical of the warning. Its embassy in Sweden wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Perhaps the Swedish leadership should stop driving its own people towards paranoia?”

In the summer of 2023, Sweden accused Russia of backing a disinformation campaign meant to hurt the country’s image as it sought NATO membership.

Mark Galeotti, a senior associate fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, told AFP that Russia targeting Sweden doesn’t seem likely.

“I understand that military structures have to think about worst case scenarios,” he said. “And Russia has demonstrated it to be more viciously aggressive than we had frankly anticipated. That said, I have to confess I’m skeptical about the odds of any kind of scenario like that emerging.”

About the Authors

Headshot for Hope O'Dell

Hope O’Dell

Real-Time Reporter

Hope O’Dell joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2023 as real-time reporter. In this role, they cover global politics and policy daily.

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Australia Day: The ‘quiet rebranding’ of a controversial national holiday

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-e&q=lyrics+Bogel%27s+Galopoli#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:ce520588,vid:ufxRotL6uns,st:0

I Am Australian

Song by The Seekers

I Am Australian: Special Farewell Performance (all 5 verses)

https://www.youtube.com › watch

Lyrics

I came from the dream-time
From the dusty red-soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flame… Full lyrics

Source: LyricFind

Videos

3:30

The Seekers – I Am Australian (Live, 2000 – HQ Audio)

YouTube · rich963

22 Aug 2010

Dennis Kickett
Image caption, In the town of York, Dennis Kickett is combining Australia Day celebrations with Indigenous storytelling

By Hannah Ritchie

BBC News, Sydney

On 26 January every year – which marks the 1788 landing of Britain’s First Fleet in Sydney Cove – two competing stories about Australia are told.

One is of nation-building and achievement; the other is of the displacement and dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

While many Indigenous Australians protest or sit the day out, this year Dennis Kickett is co-hosting a celebration like few others.

“I imagine I’ll cop some flak,” says the Noongar elder. “But I don’t see the date as a barrier.”

For the first time, his community of York near Perth will combine three days of Indigenous storytelling with the annual Australia Day festivities. It will include a BBQ with traditional bush tucker and the raising of Australian and Aboriginal flags to welcome new citizens.

Mr Kickett’s aim is to use the gathering to explain what happened on 26 January.

“For us to move forward we all have to acknowledge the past. We live in the same community, and we’re all striving for the same things,” says the 70-year-old, who made the decision with fellow Ballardong traditional owners.

“There’s no point segregating ourselves. On that date we will have an audience, so why not educate them?”

The Ballardong First Festival is one of hundreds of gatherings this weekend funded by the National Australia Day Council (NADC) – the body tasked with organising celebrations.

An "Invasion Day" rally in Sydney
Image caption, Experts say “Invasion Day” rallies are growing in size and numbers

In recent years it has shifted away from patriotic pageantry towards events which “acknowledge past wrongs” and the “survival, resilience and enduring culture” of Indigenous communities.

But as more people and businesses quietly opt out, and annual “Invasion Day” protests gather steam, some experts say it’s unclear if revamping Australia Day will help future-proof it.

A shift among brands and councils

The controversy stems from a debate over the appropriateness of celebrating Australia on a day when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people began being stripped of their lands and cut off from their culture.

Polls show about 60% of Australians see no issue with keeping the holiday as is.

But in recent years, they have suggested small shifts in public sentiment in favour of finding an alternative date – particularly among young people.

And the list of celebrities, sporting stars, and big-name brands distancing themselves from the holiday grows.

Earlier this month the nation’s largest retailer, Woolworths, announced it was axing its Australia Day merchandise – such as caps, tattoos, and plastic flags – due to a “gradual decline in demand”.

Australian men’s cricket captain Pat Cummins also recently threw his weight behind finding “a more appropriate day to celebrate”, as did his deputy Steve Smith.

Other critics of the day take even more staunch views.

But many Australians also proudly celebrate it, decking themselves out in flags and other regalia to attend sporting events, BBQs, concerts and firework displays across the country.

Demand from councils and community groups seeking funding to host festivities is “as high as it’s ever been”, according to the NADC.

And it says a years-long campaign aimed at increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and “setting a new tone for Australia Day” has been a “great success”.

Australia Day celebrations in Sydney
Image caption, Many Australians proudly celebrate the day each year

Built around the slogan “reflect, respect, celebrate”, its advertisements highlighting the “raw” and “painful” parts of Australian history are a dramatic departure from the days when the holiday was marketed as a chance to give thanks for “beaches, lamington drives, and Kylie [Minogue]”.

“A quiet rebranding is probably a useful way to think about it,” explains Rachel Busbridge, a sociology lecturer at the Australian Catholic University.

“They’re trying to create a day that is of resonance and relevance to people. That’s the aim, and it says a lot about the shift in Australian society.”

Dr Busbridge – who has long studied the public discourse around 26 January – says it will “always be a significant day in the national psyche”.

But she’s not convinced that the current efforts to preserve it will stand the test of time.

“‘Invasion Day’ marches are only growing with each year. We’re talking up to 50,000 people at some events. And there’s more and more popping up, as well as a steady growth in ‘Survival Day’ festivals.”

“Another clear trend is that young Australians increasingly see this as a problematic day, so that might mean it’s necessary to find a different date.”

For its part though, the NADC says it has seen no signs of declining public participation in its celebrations.

Calls for ‘truth-telling’

Roughly 110km (68 miles) west of York, a council in Fremantle is taking an entirely different approach to the holiday.

In 2017, its decision to move its Australia Day events to a “more inclusive” date became a political flashpoint – prompting a stern rebuke from the previous federal government, as well as threats from far-right groups.

Ultimately it stuck though, and Fremantle later won a national award for promoting Indigenous reconciliation.

Now, following much public confusion around last year’s referendum on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander constitutional recognition, which was decisively rejected, the council is swapping its January festivities for a year-long “truth-telling” exercise.

Brendan Moore
Image caption, Whadjuk, Yued and Wardandi Noongar man Brendan Moore will help design Fremantle’s truth telling programme

“26 January represents the day the myth of Terra Nullius was cultivated in this country,” says City of Fremantle Aboriginal engagement officer Brendan Moore. He is referring to the legal concept the British used to settle Australia – which declared it a land belonging to no-one.

“A lot of people still probably wouldn’t understand what that means. But it was the beginning of the end for a lot of Aboriginal ways of life,” he adds.

“That’s why we need truth-telling in this country, about how Aboriginal people weren’t just wandering around aimlessly before the Europeans arrived.”

Mr Moore, who is helping to design the community-led programme, says it’s not about “pointing the finger”, but rather, having Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians embrace their shared past as they look to the future.

It’s the same outcome Mr Kickett is hoping for over in York, despite taking a different path to get there.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to all agree to have our events on the same day. We’ve got non-Aboriginal people volunteering to man the BBQ – we’re all pulling together, so that’s positive,” he says playfully.

“We’re not blaming people today for what happened in the past, it’s about making people proud of Indigenous cultures… because we’re all citizens of Australia.”

Truth Is Ignore Class & Blame Lower Class White Men.

What went wrong at Gallipoli?

On the 9th of January 1916, the last remaining Allied troops on the Gallipoli peninsula were evacuated. Despite catastrophic predictions, the withdrawal went off without a hitch and the entire force escaped with only a few casualties. It was the only bright spark in a campaign marked by failure.

After naval attempts to force the Dardanelles straight failed, the amphibious landings had fared even worse. Fierce Ottoman opposition stopped the Allies in their tracks and trench warfare quickly took hold. There were heavy casualties on both sides, not only from the fighting but from the terrible conditions. After a succession of failed attacks, the decision was finally made to withdraw.

A tale of British incompetence

In this episode of IWM Stories, Alan Wakefield explores what went wrong at Gallipoli and why the evacuations were the only success.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=m5TJc42rm3s%3Fautoplay%3D0%26start%3D0%26rel%3D0%26enablejsapi%3D1%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.iwm.org.uk

About The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

“And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” is a song written by Scottish-born Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle in 1971. The song describes war as futile and gruesome, while criticising those who seek to glorify it. This is exemplified in the song by the account of a young Australian serviceman who is maimed during the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War. The protagonist, who had travelled across rural Australia before the war, is emotionally devastated by the loss of his legs in battle.  more »

 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer

Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As the ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water;
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was waitin', he primed himself well;
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell --
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
When we stopped to bury our slain,
Well, we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead --
Never knew there was worse things than dying.

For I'll go no more "Waltzing Matilda,"
All around the green bush far and free --
To hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve, to mourn and to pity.

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As they carried us down the gangway,
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.

And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask meself the same question.

But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda,"
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

 Become A Better Singer In Only 30 Days, With Easy Video Lessons!

Boris Nadezhdin: Putin’s would-be opponent vows to end Ukraine war

By Robert Greenall

BBC News

A would-be challenger to Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would end the war in Ukraine on day one of his presidency.

Boris Nadezhdin told the BBC he was unlikely to win 17 March elections but Mr Putin would not last six more years.

But he offered a vision of a Russia without the incumbent, where conflicts would end and relations were restored.

“Putin has made a lot of mistakes, not just with the special military operation,” Mr Nadezhdin says.

Mr Putin has headed Russia since the beginning of the millennium, his rule becoming increasingly authoritarian.

He has won several presidential elections comfortably, but in recent years no serious opposition has been allowed. The Kremlin maintains that elections are fair and he is genuinely popular.

Opposition leader Alexey Navalny, once seen as a major threat to the president’s authority, has been in jail since 2021.

Other opponents have been assassinated, jailed, or forced into exile.

But Mr Nadezhdin, a local councillor for more than three decades, is seen as a former insider of the regime whose criticism of the Kremlin has so far been tolerated.

His team says he has gathered more than 100,000 signatures, enough to stand as a candidate.

He believes he will be allowed to stand in the elections, although unconfirmed sources say anti-war candidates will be barred.

This was the case with former TV journalist Yekaterina Duntsova, whose candidacy was blocked in December.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Mr Nadezhdin was not seen as a rival but would be allowed to stand if he met the necessary conditions.

The veteran politician says he has been criticising Mr Putin for the last 10 years.

“He practically destroyed the key institutions of the modern state of Russia. My job will be to restore these institutions,” said Mr Nadezhdin.

“My first task will be to stop the conflict with Ukraine, and then to restore normal relations between Russia and the Western community.”

Mr Nadezhdin, who name is similar to “nadezhda”, the Russian word for hope, said he had the support of “dozens of millions of people”.

“There is a Russian saying – your appetite comes when you start eating,” he says.

Queue for signatures at Boris Nadezhdin's St Petersburg HQ
Image caption, People queue to put their signatures to Mr Nadezhdin’s candidacy – a poster in the background describes him as “the last hero”

He said that as recently as two weeks ago, no-one would have believed he could collect enough signatures.

“My aim is to change Russia. I may not be president on 17 March but I should have the best result.”

He said that at the start of the war only 15-20% of people were against it but now the “majority of Russians” wanted peace.

He said he aimed to make Russia a “great, peaceful and free country”.

“I am absolutely sure that Putin will not rule Russia six years more, because more and more people understand he is dragging Russia along the track of militarism, authoritarianism, isolation,” Mr Nadezhdin says.

The UN’s top court has ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza, but stopped short of telling it to halt the war.

The highly anticipated hearing was part of a controversial case brought by South Africa.

South Africa had asked the court to order Israel to stop military action straight away pending a decision on whether Israel has committed genocide.

Israel has vehemently rejected the accusation as “wholly unfounded”.

Friday’s hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague was the first time the judges have issued a ruling as part of the case which began two weeks ago. A verdict on the central allegation of genocide is expected to take much longer, possibly years.

Oil tanker on fire after Houthi missile attack, firm says

houthis
Image caption, The Houthis have continued attacking shipping despite US and UK air strikes on the group

An oil tanker is on fire in the Gulf of Aden, its operator says, after Houthis said they hit it with a missile.

The movement said it had targeted the Marlin Luanda on Friday evening.

Operator Trafigura told the BBC the strike caused a fire in one of the ship’s cargo tanks and firefighting equipment was being used to contain it.

US officials told the BBC’s US partner CBS the tanker was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile and a naval ship was responding to its distress signal.

There were no injuries reported, the US officials said.

It is the latest attack on commercial shipping by the Houthis in and around the Red Sea.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said that the incident happened 60 nautical miles south-east of Aden.

The UKMTO said authorities had been informed and were responding to the latest strike, and warned other vessels to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity.

Trafigura confirmed the vessel had been struck and military ships were on their way to provide assistance.

“Firefighting equipment on board is being deployed to suppress and control the fire caused in one cargo tank on the starboard side,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.

“The safety of the crew is our foremost priority. We remain in contact with the vessel and are monitoring the situation carefully.”

About the Author

Robert Cook
facebook https://www.facebook.com/rj.cook.9081 I went to school in Buckinghamshire, where my interests were music ( I was a violinist ), art ( winning county art competitions ) athletics and cross country ( I was a county team athlete ). My father died as a result of an accident- he was an ex soldier and truck driver- when I was 11. It could be said that I grew up in poverty, but I did not see it like that. As a schoolboy, I had my interests, hobbies and bicycle, worked on a farm, delivered news papers, did a lot of training for my sport, painting, and music. I also made model aeroplanes and was in the Air Training Corps, where we had the opportunity to fly an aeroplane. I had wanted to be a pilot, but university made me anti war. At the University of East Anglia-which I also represented in cross country and athletics- I studied economics, economic history, philosophy and sociology. Over the years, I have worked in a variety of manual, office and driving jobs. My first job after univerity was with the Inland Revenue in Havant, near Portsmouth. I left Hampshire to work for the Nitrate Corporation of Chile, then lecturing, teaching and journalism - then back to driving. I play and teach various styles of guitar and used to be a regular folk club performer. I quit that after being violently assaulted in Milton Keynes pub, after singing a song I wrote about how cop got away with killing Ian Tomlinson at G7, in broad daylight and caught on camera. The police took no action, saying taht my assailant had a good job. The pub in question was, and probably still is, popular with off duty police officers.

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