Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Demented Squawking By A Putrid Old Buzzard..., (Nancy Pelosi)

TNR  |  Representative Nancy Pelosi accused pro-Palestine protesters of having links to Russia and called for the FBI to investigate them.

During a Sunday interview with CNN’s State of the Union, Pelosi was asked if she was worried that younger voters would abandon President Joe Biden due to his resistance to a cease-fire.

For them to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin’s message,” Pelosi said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see.”

“I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia.”

When asked if she thought some of the pro-Palestinian protesters were Russian plants, Pelosi said, “I don’t think they’re plants. I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the FBI to investigate that.”

Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 26,500 people, primarily women and children, since October 7, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The vast majority of Americans, particularly younger voters, support a cease-fire. Growing numbers of lawmakers have also begun to call for an end to the fighting, but the White House continues to back Israel.

Pelosi’s comments sparked immediate backlash. The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, called Pelosi’s claim “delusional” and her call for an FBI investigation “downright authoritarian.”

Sadly, Rep. Pelosi’s comments echo a time in our nation when opponents of the Vietnam War were accused of being communist sympathizers and subjected to FBI harassment,” he said in a statement.

“Instead of baselessly smearing those Americans as Russian collaborators, former House Speaker Pelosi and other political leaders should respect the will of the American people by calling for an end to the Netanyahu government’s genocidal war on the people of Gaza.”

Many people on social media were quick to point out the hypocrisy of Pelosi’s comments. The majority of people who support a cease-fire are politically neutral or left-leaning, including thousands of Black American pastors, Doctors Without Borders, and according to some polls, 80 percent of Democratic voters.

Others pointed out that the specific call for an FBI investigation marked a dangerous shift in the government’s stance on involving law enforcement against anti-war efforts. Widespread crackdowns against pro-Palestine speech have been compared to a new wave of McCarthyism.

Biden’s refusal to call for a cease-fire could well cost him in November. His popularity among young voters has dropped dramatically, primarily due to his stance on Israel. Biden’s campaign manager traveled last week to Detroit, which has a large Arab-American community. Many of the community leaders refused to meet with her over Biden’s Gaza policies.

 

 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Russia Makes More Artillery Shells In One Day Than The West Can Make In A Month

russiamatters  |  As Russia begins its one-year presidency of the BRICS in a turbulent world, great power competition in the Global South will intensify. The Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war have enabled the Kremlin to solidify and increase its influence in the Global South, or what Russia now calls the “World Majority.” The Global South comprises those developing or less- developed countries in the Southern Hemisphere. The Russian definition of the World Majority, however, is not economic, but political. It refers to a community of non-Western countries that have no binding relationships with the United States and the organizations it patronizes.

While the U.S. and its allies struggled to persuade these countries to support Ukraine and reject the Kremlin’s narrative about the origins and course of the war, Russia has largely succeeded in convincing them that the West is to blame for both the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas wars. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in his December interview with leading Russian TV propagandist Dmitri Kiselev, praised the “World Majority” countries “who have not publicly declared Russia as an enemy.” These countries, he declared, “are ready to work with us honestly, mutually beneficially and mutually respectfully, including in the economy, in politics, in the security sphere,” and he went on to predict that ties with these counties would further intensify in 2024. The West, Russia’s top diplomat proclaimed, does not respect these countries’ interests. In the interview, Lavrov also highlighted the 2024 Russian presidency of the BRICS, which began on Jan. 1, and now has expanded to include Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Iran, bringing the group’s share of world GDP and population to 34% and 45%, respectively (see tables 1 and 2 below).[1] 

Why has Russia succeeded in strengthening its standing with many countries in the Global South even as it pursues its brutal war of attrition in Ukraine? Moscow starts out with a major advantage—deep skepticism amongst these countries about the West, especially the United States. Many Global South countries assert that they see no difference between what Russia is doing in Ukraine and what the United States did in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Russia also taps into the alienation and resentment in many countries that both the war and the West’s rivalry with China are distracting attention and shifting resources away from their own urgent challenges, such as debt, economic growth, food, energy, climate change and healthThese countries view the United States and many of its European allies as neo-colonial powers who still treat them with condescension. They do not accept that what Russia in doing in Ukraine is a form of colonialism, because Russia repeatedly invokes the Soviet past and the USSR’s support for anti-colonial liberation movements to prove its bona fides as the leading anti-colonial power. Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar Subrahmanyam told European ministers that they should “grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.”[2]

Votes in the United Nations General Assembly tend to reflect these sentiments. In February 2023, the votes in favor of condemning Russia’s invasion as a violation of the U.N. Charter and demanding that Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine were 141 in favor, 7 against, with 32 abstentions, including China, India and other countries in the Global South. However, a significant number of Global South countries did vote to condemn Russia.

Although Western countries have much more to offer the Global South economically than does Russia, Moscow does retain levers of economic influence. Energy remains the most important. Europe has largely weaned itself off Russian hydrocarbons, but cheap Russian oil remains attractive to many countries. India, a traditional partner of both the Soviet Union and Russia, has been the second largest  purchaser of Russian oil after China, enabling Russia to continue to earn billions of dollars despite Western sanctions on Russian energy and the oil price cap. Nuclear energy exports, which are not sanctioned, are also growing. Rosatom has a 74% share of the world’s nuclear power plant market, with 73 projects in 29 different countries. Russian fertilizer and grain exports are important for a number of countries. Recently Russia shipped free grain to six African countries, no doubt to counter the fact that its refusal to renew the earlier Black Sea grain deals had harmed its reputation in parts of the Global South. 

Arms sales have been a significant element in Russia’s competition with the United States in parts of the Global South. However, the sub-par performance of the Russia military in Ukraine and the shoddy condition of some of the weaponry made Russia’s customers question the wisdom of continuing to purchase its arms. Western sanctions have also curbed Russia’s ability to export weapons, as Russia needs to use its own weapons in Ukraine. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia’s share of global arms exports fell from 22% in 2013-2017 to 16% from 2018 to 2022, while the U.S. increased its share from 33% to 40%.[3] India has cut back on its imports of Russian weapons. Nevertheless, during Jaishankar’s December 2023 visit to Moscow, Lavrov announced that they had made significant progress on plans to jointly produce military equipment. [4]

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Russia Inks Expansive New Energy And Weapons Deal With Iran

oilprice  |  Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, gave his official approval on 18 January to a new 20-year comprehensive cooperation deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia, according to a senior energy source in Iran and a senior source in the European Union’s (E.U.) energy security complex, exclusively spoken to by OilPrice.com last week. The 20-year deal – ‘The Treaty on the Basis of Mutual Relations and Principles of Cooperation between Iran and Russia’ - was presented for his consideration on 11 December 2023. It will replace the 10-year-deal signed in March 2001 (extended twice by five years) and has been expanded not only in duration but also in scope and scale, particularly in the defense and energy sectors. In several respects, the new deal additionally complements key elements of the all-encompassing ‘Iran-China 25-Year Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement’, as first revealed anywhere in the world in my 3 September 2019 article on the subject and analysed in full in my new book on the new global oil market order.

In the energy sector to begin with, the new deal gives Russia the first right of extraction in the Iranian section of the Caspian Sea, including the potentially huge Chalous field. The wider Caspian basins area, including both onshore and offshore fields, is conservatively estimated to have around 48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in proven and probable reserves. In 2019, Russia was instrumental in changing the legal status of the Caspian basins area, cutting Iran’s share from 50 percent to just 11.875 percent in the process, as also detailed in my new book. Before the Chalous discovery, this meant that Iran would lose at least US$3.2 trillion in revenues from the lost value of energy products across the shared assets of the Caspian Sea resource going forward. Given the newest internal-use only estimates from Iran and Russia, this figure could be a lot higher. Previously, the estimates were that Chalous contained around 124 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas in place. This equated to around one quarter of the gas reserves contained in Iran’s supergiant South Pars natural gas field that account for around 40 percent of Iran’s total estimated gas reserves and about 80 per cent of its gas production. The new estimates are that it is a twin-field site, nine kilometres apart, with ‘Greater’ Chalous having 208 bcf of gas in place, and ‘Lesser’ Chalous having 42 bcf of gas, giving a combined figure of 250 bcm of gas. 

Related: E&P Companies Face Tough Year Despite Oil Patch 'Bumper Crop'

The same right of first extraction for Russia will also now apply to Iran’s major oil and gas fields in the Khorramshahr and nearby Ilam provinces that border Iraq. The shared fields of Iran and Iraq have long allowed Tehran to side-step sanctions in place against its key oil sector, as it is impossible to tell what oil has come from the Iranian side or the Iraqi side of these fields, which means that Iran is able simply to rebrand its own sanctioned oil as unsanctioned Iraqi oil and ship it anywhere it wants, as also analysed in full in my new book on the new global oil market order. Former Petroleum Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, publicly highlighted this very practice when he said in 2020: “What we export is not under Iran’s name. The documents are changed over and over, as well as [the] specifications.” Another advantage of the shared fields is that they allow effectively free movement of personnel from the Iranian side to the Iraqi side, and the utilisation of key oil and gas developments across Iraq is a key part of Iran’s longstanding plan, fully supported by Russia, to build a ‘land bridge’ to the Mediterranean Sea coast of Syria. This would enable Iran and Russia to exponentially increase weapons delivery into southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights area of Syria to be used in attacks on Israel. The core aim of this policy is to provoke a broader conflict in the Middle East that would draw in the U.S. and its allies into an unwinnable war of the sort seen recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, and which may soon be seen as the Israel-Hamas War escalates.

The price of all manufactured items traded between Russia and Iran, including military and energy hardware, has been formalised in the new deal, although also not in Iran’s favour. For Iranian goods exported to Russia, Tehran will receive the cost of production plus 8 percent. However, these export sales to Russia will not be transferred to Iran, but rather they will be held as credit in the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). Moreover, Iran will receive a huge markdown on US dollar/Rouble or Euro/Rouble exchange rates used to calculate its credits in the CBR. Conversely, for Russian goods exported to Iran, Moscow will receive the payment in advance of delivery and at a much stronger exchange rate that benefits Russia. Moreover, the base price before any exchange rate calculations are made, will be founded on the highest price that Russia has received in the previous 180 days for whichever product it is selling Iran. This system has informally been in place for several weeks now, and according to the senior energy sector source in Tehran exclusively spoken to by OilPrice.com last week, Russia has ensured itself the highest possible price by selling to Belarus at a very large premium whichever product it intends to sell later to Iran, so establishing the required pricing benchmark. Payments for goods and services falling outside the direct finance route between the central banks of the two countries can now be done through interbank transfers between Iranian and Russian banks. Those also involving renminbi can also be done through China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) system, its alternative to the globally-dominant Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system. 

In many cases, the expansion of military cooperation between Iran and Russia is tied into the energy sector elements of the new 20-year deal. Progress is earmarked to be made on upgrading the facilities at the key airports and seaports that have long been targeted by Russia as being especially useful for dual-use by its air force and navy, and which are also close to major oil and gas facilities. Top of the list of Iranian airports that Russia regards as the best for dual-use by its air force are Hamedan, Bandar Abbas, Chabahar, and Abadan, and it is apposite to note that in August 2016, Russia used the Hamedan airbase to launch attacks on targets in Syria using both Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters. Top of the list of seaports for use by its navy are Chabahar, Bandar-e-Bushehr, and Bandar Abbas. Similarly linked to Russia’s gaining the first right of extraction in the Iranian section of the Caspian Sea is that it will also be given a joint command capability over the northern aerospace defense section of Iran’s Caspian area.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Valodya Launched The Most Powerful Icebreaker In The World (Brandon Shit Himself And Got Lost)

Vladimir Putin visited St. Petersburg. Yesterday at the Baltic Shipyard the laying of a new nuclear icebreaker took place.

“Today, together we are taking another step towards strengthening the technological and industrial potential of our country.

The powerful, modern nuclear icebreaker Leningrad will become the fifth ship in its series.
 

Russia today has a unique, I want to emphasize this, unique, the largest icebreaker fleet in the world.

And this is our huge competitive advantage, enormous opportunities for the development of logistics, industry, the creation of new jobs, for the integrated development of Arctic cities and towns, the implementation of truly global-level projects, for international cooperation with our partners, friends, with everyone who wants and is ready work with Russia."

— V. Putin: It will bear the name “Leningrad”.

“Tomorrow we celebrate a special, sacred date in the history of the Northern capital, and the entire country - the 80th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the enemy Nazi blockade.

And the new mighty icebreaker will be another tribute to the memory of the immortal feat of Leningrad, the courage and unbending will of the defenders, the inhabitants of the city, who did not submit, overcame everything, withstood everything and crushed the Nazis.

The life, unity, cohesion of the generation of winners will always be a great moral example for us and in the struggle for sovereignty, for freedom, for our Motherland, they will be a good example both in work and in battle.”

The series of nuclear-powered ships, to which Leningrad belongs, are the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the #world.

The giant, as tall as a 16-story building, is a true all-rounder: it can both break through heavy ice and carry out tasks at the mouths of polar rivers.

Thanks to the most modern power plant, it is capable of operating for more than a year without calling at a port. And next year another icebreaker of this class will be laid down at the Baltic Shipyard. The name they chose for it was also symbolic.

“In 2025, we will lay down another ship, an icebreaker of the same class, and we will call it “Stalingrad” - Putin.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Kansas City Star Depicted Burleson As More Grounded And Hard-Nosed

kansascity  |  Under federal law, Burlison is not permitted to reveal classified information to the public. But after the classified briefing, he still appeared frustrated with how little the federal government is revealing about what it knows.

“Regardless of what it is – aliens, angels, or just us, right?” Burlison said. “Regardless of what it is, I think that Grusch, what he said in the public hearing, that we are being blocked from information, that the information is being specifically compartmentalized, that’s violating federal law.”

He’s not alone. Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of representatives including Burlison and Moskowitz formed the Congressional UAP Caucus. The caucus wrote a letter to Monheim in August seeking more answers about the government’s UAP program.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, attempted to get a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act allowing the National Archives to collect information on UAPs and reveal it to the public after a certain period of time – similar to how the government handled information about former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

But the provision was weakened in the final version of the NDAA. The National Archives can still collect the information, but there will be no committee to go through the papers and authorize what can and can’t be revealed.

“It is really an outrage the House didn’t work with us on adopting our proposal for a review board, which of course by definition here is bipartisan in the Senate,” Schumer said in December. “Now it means that declassification of UAP records will be largely up to the same entities that have blocked and obfuscated their disclosure for decades.”

Burlison said he believes the public has a right to know more about UAPs – or at the very least the representative the public elected to Congress has a right to know. He compared it to the development of the nuclear bomb during World War II, saying some information should be private, but the basic information should be available to the public.

“You can go study nuclear physics, you can go study how power plants operate, but at the end of the day if you are interested in making a bomb, that is top secret information and we should hold that information to the highest level of security,” Burlison said. “But I think the same thing should apply to any of this UAP technology.”

In the meantime, he plans to push to get stronger language in next year’s NDAA and to keep pushing for briefings from people with better knowledge of the UAP program.But he was tight lipped as to whether people will soon learn whether aliens exist and have visited Earth. “If you believe that aliens existed, there’s nothing that I’ve seen or heard that proves that,” Burlison said. “Also, I’ve not seen anything that proves that it’s not.”

Missouri Congressman Burleson Says "It's Angels"

futurism  |  Congressman Eric Burlison (R-MO) has waded into the discourse about UFOs — and in an outburst that probably says more about the state of US politics than unidentified objects in the sky, speculated that they might be "angels" sent by God himself.

Yes, you read that right. During a recent episode of That UFO Podcast this week, Burlison took the UFO conversation in a wild new direction.

"They may not fit exactly the Biblical narrative, but whenever I use the term 'angels,'" he said, "to me, it's synonymous with an extradimensional being."

"I think it's more likely that it would be something extradimensional than it would be within this dimension," Burlison argued. "And then, so what I'll say is that when you start talking about things in that nature, that they're extradimensional, well, in a lot of different scriptures, including the Bible, and others, that's really the way that you describe messengers of God or, you know, angels."

Strikingly, Burlison's musings come after he attended a classified briefing about UFOs this month, though he said after it that nothing he'd learned there had fundamentally shifted his worldview.

"There’s nothing that’s been said that’s changed my worldview," he told the Kansas City Star. "I believe the veracity of the claims of the people who testified in the public hearing. Now, that being said, I believe that what they believe they said is true."

Burlison isn't alone in musing about a connection between UFOs and religious texts.

"UFOs were in the Bible," representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) claimed in 2021. "Read Ezekiel, it talks about the wheel flying around. So I mean, they’ve been around since we’ve been around and somebody needs to come up with some answers."

Burlison has long called for oversight over reports alleging that the US government has conspired to keep spicy UFO findings from leaking to the public.

The subject has been fraught with drama. Last summer, an Air Force veteran and former member of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency named David Grusch came forward to allege that the government had secretly recovered alien spacecraft — and even dead "pilots" inside them — for decades as part of a top-secret UFO retrieval program.

 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied (Thus The Sinister Beauty Of Apartheid)

nakedcapitalism  |  Now in the wake of October 7 and the unification of sentiment in Israel against Palestinians, a two-state solution is simply na ga happen. Having the US, Egypt, and Qatar talk up a peace scheme that includes a two-state solution as a major component is an insult to intelligence, like the Collective West coming up with Ukraine peace plans they dreamed up in a vacuum, with no consideration of what Russia would accept.

But on top of that, even before October 7, the Palestinians had also soured on the idea. From The Strategist:

On the Palestinian side, long before 7 October it was evident the paradigm of Palestinian politics had shifted. Support for a two-state approach has collapsed.

Fatah, self-indulgent, corrupt and unwilling to do the hard yards of election campaigning, lost to Hamas in Gaza in 2006. It was crushed by Hamas when it attempted a coup in 2007.

Meanwhile, Israeli intransigence; settler violence in the West Bank; the loss of political authority on the part of Mahmoud Abbas; the contempt of Palestinians for the role played by the PA in meeting Israel’s security demands and destructive military and settler incursions; US promotion of normalisation between Israel and Persian Gulf Arab states, without addressing the Palestinian issue as an essential part of that process; and the emergence of West Bank urban militant groups defying the PA all combined to deadly effect.

And finally, let us turn to the ultimate obstacle, the fact on the ground of settler extreme balkanization of the West Bank. On top of settler occupation of much of the land, many of the roads are reserved for Israeli use, and Palestinians often have to take roundabout routes to get from Point A to B, as well as go through many checkpoints. The only way to create even some decent-sized chuck of contiguous Palestinian land would be through a reverse Nakba. And that simply will not occur.

Alastair Crooke describes how Israel has chosen to keep the Palestinians in an ambiguous, but of course second-class, position (emphasis original):

Even in 2008, Foreign Minister (and lawyer), Tzipi Livni, was spelling outwhy “Israel’s only answer (to the issue of how to maintain Zionism) was to keep the State’s borders undefined – whilst holding on to scarce water and land resources – leaving Palestinians in a state of permanent uncertainty, dependent on Israeli goodwill”.

And I noted in a separate piece:

Livni was saying that she wanted Israel to be a Zionist state – based on the Law of Return and open to any Jew. However, to secure such a state in a country with very limited territory – means that land and water must be kept under Jewish control, with differential rights for Jews and non-Jews – rights that affect everything, from housing and access to land, to jobs, subsidies, marriages and migration.

A two-state solution inherently therefore, did not solve the problem of how to maintain Zionism; rather, it compounded it. The inevitable demand for full equal rights for Palestinians would bring the end of Jewish ‘special rights’, and of Zionism itself, Livni argued – a threat with which most Zionists concur.

Sharon’s answer to this ultimate paradox, however, was different:

Sharon had an alternative plan for managing a large non-Jewish ‘out-group’, physically present within a Zionist State of differentiated rights. Sharon’s alternative amounted to frustrating a two-state solution within fixed borders

Sharon envisaged the depth of the West Bank in its entirety as one extensive, permeable and temporary ‘frontier’. This approach could thus disregard any thin-nibbed pencil line, drawn to denote some political border. This framework was intended to leave Palestinians in a state of permanent uncertainty, caught within a matrix of interlocking settlements, and subject to Israeli military intervention at Israel’s sole discretion.

Crooke also developed these ideas in his Judge Napolitano interview on Monday. But he added some critical detail, particularly starting at 18:50: “Where are the two states going to be?” Continuing:

According to the Security Council resolution, it [the Palestinian state] includes all the West Bank and Gaza. Well, what are you going to do about the West Bank? I’ve already, you know that is peopled by nearly 800,000 settlers now who are armed and zealous, have absolutely no intention, whatever any government says, of abandoning. These are fanatics. I’ve been to them. I’ve spoken to them. They are really radical people. Even the Israeli Army, and look at the Israeli Army in the West Bank. It’s basically a reservists army, but also it is a settler army. Most of these people, when I was in Israel, I saw the big transformation of the Israeli Army into becoming a settler army. It used to be managed and led by the kibbutznik, the people who lived in the kibbutz, but then it changed and the settlers took command over the main points of this army.

So you’re not going to be able to use the Israelis to remove them. Who’s going to remove nearly a million Israelis from West Bank? There’s no discussion that is serious about these things. New fabulist sort of ideas that people are using just to manage the problem. We can’t solve it so we come up and we’ll say, “Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will do this,” and the other things when they know that’s not going to work, it’s impossible to work.

In other words, shorter Crooke is that failure to admit how intractable the Israel/Palestine problem is allows Israelis to continue to use ambiguity and misdirection to the disadvantage and now physical destruction of Palestine and its people.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

There's A Civil War Ongoing Within The Chosen's Elite Ranks

theintercept  |  European colonial movements came in different flavors, and Zionism was unique in that its members — certainly after World War II — were fleeing not just persecution, but also extermination. Still, it was of psychological necessity shot through with colonization’s standard ideological racism. Rudolf Sonneborn, an American who would go on to make a fortune in the oil business, was secretary of the Zionist Commission in Palestine following World War I. He reportedOpens in a new tab that “the average [Arab] is inferior even to our average Negro … I believe there is very little to ever fear from them. Besides, they are a cowardly race.”

This was also true for Christian Zionists. George Biddle, a friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ultra-WASPy descendant of the original settlers on the Mayflower, took this view in an article in The AtlanticOpens in a new tab after visiting Israel shortly after its 1948 founding. First, Biddle enthused about how Israel would serve Western interests. Then, he explained that Arabs were “foul, diseased, smelling, rotting, and pullulating with vermin and corruption.” Fortunately, they “were about as dangerous as so many North American Indians in modern mechanized war.”

The fact that European Jewry were the greatest victims of the racism that was central to this worldview, which Zionism adopted (in a less virulent form), is one of the most bizarre twists of human history.

In any case, Europe’s centurieslong reign of piracy and mass death should make it clear why people around the world — including such far-flung, surprising places as South KoreaOpens in a new tab and PeruOpens in a new tab — look at Israel’s action in Gaza with particular concern. It is not a coincidence that the genocide case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague was brought by South Africa with the participation of Irish lawyers. 

But what happens now? No one knows. 

Israel was, in a sense, both too early and too late. If it had been founded earlier, it could have massacred the entire Arab population, just as the United States killed most Native Americans and Australia wiped out huge swaths of the country’s Aboriginals. Then there would be no Palestinians left for the world to be concerned about.

On the other hand, if it had come along later, Zionists might have believed that they should join forces with the decolonization movements across the Mideast and the world in the 1950s and 1960s. But in our timeline, an Arab nationalist approached Ben-Gurion about fighting the U.K.’s colonial forces together while Palestine was still under the British mandate — and Ben-Gurion reported him to the British.

In any case, despite the dreams of the Israeli right, the “expel and/or kill them all” solution is (probably) no longer available. But it’s also extremely difficult to imagine a South Africa outcome, in which Jewish Israelis accede to becoming a minority in a one-person, one-vote, one-state Palestine. 

Meanwhile, some parts of the Arab world fantasize about an Algeria analogy, in which (after massive bloodshed) the colonists go back to where they came from. Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, recently claimed every Jewish Israeli “has a second nationality and has his bag ready.” This is both factually false and extremely foolish. Israelis are not going anywhere any more than Americans or Australians are.

 

 

Monday, January 22, 2024

A Handful Of Bad Apples Making It Hard On Everybody Else....,


wsws  |  To better understand the narrow social basis of the campaign to silence opposition to Israel’s genocide, it is useful to understand who is leading it. This campaign of censorship and intimidation is being led by an alliance of billionaires, Zionists, the far-right and top government and political leaders of American imperialism. 

The first major group involved are a handful of multi-billionaires and economic power players whose stranglehold over the global economy positions them to control the political and cultural leadership of the major universities and other significant institutions.

As the World Socialist Web Site noted in an article written by an anonymous Harvard employee:

Just as inequality in general is increasingly incompatible with what remains of democracy, so is the subordination of universities to wealthy donors incompatible with academic freedom. The right-wing, pro-Zionist “donor revolt” is a qualitative development in big-money university donors attempting to use their power and influence to shape campus discourse. That these donors wield such influence—and that many of them seek to do so publicly—is an indication of how deeply compromised academia already is.

Indeed, universities are largely reliant on this stream of cash. According to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, in 1980 private donations to US colleges and universities amounted to $4.2 billion. Today they have surged to $59.5 billion.

These are some of the major billionaires whose “donor revolt” is leading to the attack on basic rights of free speech and protest on US campuses.

Les Wexner – One of the most important capitalists in retail sales, Wexner has amassed $10.6 billion, and is the 192nd richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg. Wexner founded L Brands, which controls, or previously controlled, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, and several other major brands. While Wexner no longer controls L Brands, his foundation, the Wexner Foundation, donated tens of millions of dollars to Harvard over the last few decades and has now pulled millions of dollars of future support. (He is also the billionaire who became the launching pad for convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who managed Wexner’s personal holdings for nearly two decades).

Idan Ofer – Idan and his brother Eyal are the 77th and 87th richest people in the world, owning $42 billion, according to Bloomberg. Together they control Ofer Global, the Zodiac Group, Quantum Pacific Group and Global Holdings, each of which are massive industrial, energy and real estate investment firms. They own about half of Israeli Corp., Israel’s largest holding company. Collectively their companies take in hundreds of billions of dollars a year in revenue through shipping, fertilizers, industrial chemicals, energy and real estate. Miller Global Properties, one of the various “small”’companies that they have a leading ownership in, is notable for controlling various landmark properties, such as the Pebble Beach golf course, the Aspen ski resort and the Bevely Hills Hotel. Idan Ofer and his wife Batia both quit the Harvard Kennedy School Dean’s Executive Board in an attempt to pressure the university to crack down on the outcry of pro-Palestinian sentiment on the campus. Idan Ofer’s companies have been at the heart of multiple chemical leak and environmental scandals in Israel. Eyal was formerly an intelligence officer in the Israeli Air Force; he now resides in Monaco.

Bill Ackman – Ackman is an American billionaire who runs Pershing Square Capital, a hedge fund with about $20 billion under management. Ackman owns $4 billion personally. Pershing Square Capital holds significant shares of major US companies, including a 10 percent ownership of Target, one percent of Procter & Gamble, 10 percent control of Chipotle, a 7 percent share of Universal Music Group, and over a billion dollars in Netflix. Ackman is currently leading a vicious campaign to oust Harvard President Claudine Gay. Previously Ackman fought to get Harvard to release all the names of students who signed a pro-Palestinian statement, demanding that employers refuse to hire these students.

Ken Griffin – Griffin is the 35th richest person in the world, with over $37 billion in assets. He is the CEO of Citadel, a massive $52 billion hedge fund based in Miami. Citadel owns a significant share in some of the largest technology and bioscience companies, including Microsoft, Activision, Boston Scientific, Nvidia, Humana, Apple, Comcast, Merck, and Adobe. Griffin has donated over half a billion dollars to Harvard and is pressuring the university to adopt a stronger pro-Israel stance.

Cliff Asness – Asness is an American billionaire who founded AQR Capital Management, which has over $100 billion under management. Asness severed all his donations to the University of Pennsylvania and has publicly begun a campaign to pressure the university to stop “support[ing] evil.” In a diatribe published in the Wall Street Journal, he described the pro-Palestinian protests as a reflection of the “deep and systematic rot on elite college campuses.”

Marc Rowan – Rowan is co-owner of Apollo Asset Management, one of the largest private equity firms. He has over $6 billion in personal wealth. He halted his donations to University of Pennsylvania, using “Wall Street tactics to ‘strong-arm’” the university, in the words of Business Insider. Apollo has sprawling investments in real estate, cruise companies (Norwegian, Regent), hotels (Harrah’s Entertainment), education (McGraw Hill), entertainment (Chuck E. Cheese), private security (ADT) and retail (Smart and Final). Apollo co-founder Leon Black was formerly CEO of the company before revelations emerged that he had paid Jeffrey Epstein over $100 million for tax planning and consulting services. 

Zionists, antisemites and ethno-nationalists

Complementing this group of billionaires are a series of ethno-nationalists, both Zionists and MAGA Trumpers, who are more closely coordinating the effort to censor outrage against Israel’s genocide.

A recent, 2023 film, Israelism, made by two Jewish filmmakers, provides a window into the mechanisms used to promote Zionism in American culture and equate it with Judaism. One central figure in the film is Abe Foxman, an American lawyer and multi-millionaire who was the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from 1987 to 2015. Foxman and the ADL are major fixtures in the American Zionist lobby, heavily promoting organizations such as Birthright.

 

 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Will Disclosure Ignite An Arms Race Unparalleled In Human History?

thehill  |   According to philosopher Nick Bostrom, a novel technological discovery may one day devastate human civilization. In Bostrom’s “vulnerable world” theory, only extraordinary interventions — such as unprecedented global cooperation or surveillance — can prevent a sufficiently dangerous new technology from ushering in civilizational collapse.

With key members of Congress suspecting that the U.S. already possesses such uniquely destabilizing technology, Bostrom’s hypothesis may soon be put to the test.

Legislation proposed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a bipartisan group of five other senators alleges that surreptitious government “legacy programs” have retrieved and are attempting to reverse-engineer UFOs of seemingly “non-human” origin. Although an influential member of the House successfully “killed” the most remarkable elements of the legislation late last year, Schumer and his Republican counterpart are not backing down.

At the same time, several House members stated last week that they consider the allegations of David Grusch, a former intelligence official who testified under oath about UFO retrieval and reverse engineering programs, to be credible.

At this juncture, leaving the plausible global implications of such a paradigm-shifting revelation unaddressed is irresponsible and, as Bostrom might argue, dangerous.

Let us assume, then, that the U.S. does indeed possess revolutionary UFO technology.

Let us also assume, as Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appear to believe, that unprecedented secrecy has thus far prevented meaningful scientific understanding of the “exotic” technologies recovered.

A popular assumption holds that any official disclosure that humanity is not alone will unite the nations of the world by default. But this is by no means guaranteed.

On the contrary, a sudden public revelation that the U.S. possesses inconceivably advanced technology could be a uniquely destabilizing event.

China’s military, for example, relies heavily on espionage and the emulation of U.S. technology. Russia’s defense industry is in shambles, compounded by staggering losses in Ukraine. These nuclear-armed states would naturally fear the sudden injection of highly advanced UFO technology into a comparatively mature, sophisticated American industrial base for technical analysis and exploitation.

Russia or China would thus be motivated to engage in a range of destabilizing actions to hedge against the U.S. attaining an insurmountable strategic advantage. More worryingly, such states may seek to actively prevent the U.S. from developing paradigm-shifting military capabilities derived from UFO technology.

In this unstable geopolitical environment, several plausible scenarios could escalate rapidly into a devasting global conflict.

To complicate matters, key senators appear to suspect that some of America’s adversaries have also retrieved highly advanced UFO technology. Three military and intelligence officials, including Grusch, have alleged as much.

If true, the public disclosure of UFO technology by one state could ignite an arms race unparalleled in human history.

 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Come Hell And High Water - Disclosure Will Happen In 2024

breakingdefense  |  Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks has signed off on a new classification policy for space programs that discourages the use of Special Access Program status (SAPs) that dramatically limits clearances to handful of US officials — in hopes of opening still-secret programs to more stakeholders, including US allies and industry partners, according to a senior official.

“What the classification memo does, generally, is it overwrites — it really completely rewrites — a legacy document that had its roots 20 years ago, and it’s just no longer applicable to the current environment that involves national security space,” DoD Assistant Secretary for Space Policy John Plumb told reporters today.

While the specifics of the policy, signed off by Hicks “at the end of 2023,” are themselves classified, Plumb explained that a key issue has been the overuse of SAPs that not only have limited the ability to share with allies and industry, but even among different organizations within the Defense Department.

“So, anything we can bring from a SAP level to a Top Secret level for example, brings massive value to the warfighter, massive value to the department, and frankly, my hope is over time [it] will also allow us to share more information with allies and partners that they might not currently be able to share.”

Plumb explained that from now on DoD will be “assigning minimum classifications to a various number of things, which will then allow the services to examine their own programs and determine ‘should this really be SAP-ed any more?’ And the general point that I have made clear is policy is not a reason, it’s not the only reason, to hide something in a SAP program. There have to be technical aspects to it.”

National security space leaders within the Pentagon and outside experts for years have been pushing to lower the sky-high classification levels traditionally applied to all things military space. This has included a call for declassifying information about DoD’s plans for conducting warfighting in space — but this new policy document does not do that, Plumb said.

“Inside the beltway, people always ask me about how can I make things unclassified? And that is not actually a thing I’m all that concerned about. I’m concerned about reducing the classification of things where they are over-classified to the point that it hampers our ability to get work done or hamper the ability of the warfighter to do their mission,” he said.

Plumb acknowledged that it will take time for the new approach to work its way down through the bureaucracy and be accepted, but said at the same time there are “many folks looking forward to getting started on it.”

He further noted that he will be “briefing some close allies and partners on these changes” in future.

The new classification policy is in essence a first step in an overarching effort by Plumb’s office to craft a new “DoD International Space Cooperation Strategy,” designed to support the ability of the US, allies and partners to more seamlessly undertake collective military space operations.

Plumb noted that already the Pentagon expanded the “Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO)” from seven members — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — to 10. At the CSpO’s last meeting in early December, DoD announced that Italy, Japan and Norway had now been admitted.

 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Only Fan(i)s And Her Manchild Niggolo....,

 

NYPost  |  A Georgia district attorney accused of hiring her lover to prosecute former President Trump broke her silence on the controversy, saying she and the prosecutor were targeted because they are black.

The comments were Willis’ first time addressing the allegations publicly — but she neither confirmed nor denied the claims lobbed at her and special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who helped secure an indictment against the former Republican president in an election interference case.

“They only attacked one,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Sunday at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta. “First thing they say, ‘Oh, she’s gonna play the race card now.’

“But no God, isn’t it them that’s playing the race card when they only question one?” 

She called Wade “a great friend and a great lawyer,” along with a “superstar,” but failed to mention him by name once during her more than 30 minute speech, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The pair were accused by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman of having a “clandestine” and “improper” affair when appointments were made for the 2020 election interference case.

Roman, a former official on the Trump 2020 campaign, argued in a court filing last week that the integrity of the case had been compromised by their alleged affair and asked that all charges against him be dropped.

“The district attorney chose to appoint her romantic partner, who at all times relevant to this prosecution has been a married man,” the filing read.

Roman contended in the filing that Wade used some of the $654,000 in legal fees he’d earned on the case to take Willis on vacations to “Napa Valley, California, Florida and the Caribbean.”

Willis pointed out during her speech that the other two prosecutors assigned to the case, Anna Green Cross and John Floyd, both are white, and noted that allegations have only emerged targeting the two prominent black members of the prosecution — her and Wade.

“Isn’t it them playing the race card when they constantly think I need someone from some other jurisdiction in some other state to tell me how to do a job I’ve been doing almost 30 years?” she asked.

Roman was unmoved by Willis accusations of the charges being racially charged.

 

 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

RIP Coach Red Pill (Should've Placed A Higher Priorirty On Your Wife And Daughter)

Friday, January 12, 2024

Hoisted By Their Own Little Cheesey Schmeckels....,

thecradle  |  Three months into Israel’s longest and costliest unconventional war, the country's armed forces have emerged as a significant indirect source of pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's extremist government. 

This development comes at a crucial juncture, both politically and in terms of security, for Tel Aviv. Amid ongoing internal differences over post-Gaza war strategies and proposed resolutions for Hamas's prisoner exchange demands, the negative shift in international and regional public opinion over Israel's 13-week Gaza assault has generated further stressors. 

At the same time, the escalating situation on the northern front with Hezbollah has compelled the Israeli army to establish a committee to investigate the political, security, and military shortcomings that led to the 7 October Al-Aqsa flood operation.

This decision by the Israeli army has triggered a political uproar, particularly from a faction uncertain about how to deal with intensifying Palestinian resistance activities brought on by the formation of Netanyahu's coalition government - which is marked by extremism and controversial decisions, even by Israeli standards. 

During a recent cabinet meeting, far-right and nationalist Zionist ministers slammed army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi's decision to probe intelligence and operational failures leading up to the 7 October resistance operation, claiming that forming an inquiry commission during the ongoing Gaza war damages army and soldier morale.

Some cabinet members rallied to scuttle the selection of former Minister of Defence Shaul Mofaz as head of the inquiry commission, largely because of his role in Israel's unilateral Gaza disengagement plan in 2005. 

Cracks in the coalition 

The timing of the investigative committee's formation is underscored by Defense Minister Yoav Galant and emergency cabinet member Benny Gantz's vigorous defense of Halevi's decision. They emphasize its importance in learning from past mistakes, addressing security gaps, and preparing for potential wider conflicts, particularly with Hezbollah in Lebanon. 

Less clear, however, is Netanyahu stance on the matter, despite the fact that he scheduled the session which was originally intended to be about post-war plans — a topic the prime minister appears reluctant to tackle given the potential risks to his political and personal future.

Netanyahu's right-wing cabinet members view the inquiry as a tool to further undermine an already precarious government. They recognize that the findings of the commission could be especially damning for their governing coalition, which, since its formation, has implemented an agenda focused on the oppression of Palestinians living under occupation and the strangulation of their national aspirations. 

It is an agenda which security and military experts in Israel have consistently warned could heavily exacerbate the level of retaliatory violence against settlers and inflame the security situation, whether in the Gaza Strip or in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.


Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Arc Of Justice Is Long But Inevitable...,

zerohedge  |  A key aspect of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit and press conference in Israel on Tuesday was to make a strong show of condemning South Africa's genocide case against Israel, set to start at The Hague this week.

The US top diplomat blasted the case filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as "meritless" and described the whole initiative as "galling" - also saying that it will be a distraction while world powers need to be focused on achieving lasting peace in Gaza.

"The charge of genocide is meritless," he said. But then in the same press conference he admitted that the "daily toll on civilians in Gaza, particularly children, is far too high."

The first hearing in the case will be held Thursday, focused on South Africa’s 84-page application to the ICJ , which describes Israel's military campaign as "genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part" of the Palestinian population of Gaza.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby last week said initially, "We find this submission meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact, whatsoever."

Israel has gone on a full-court diplomatic press pushing back against the case. There's not much that the court can enforce in terms of action regardless, but a ruling against Israel would be a huge reputational black eye.

Starting last month, Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a blistering rebuke in response, rejecting the filing "with disgust" and called Pretoria's accusations a "blood libel" - essentially saying the South African government's charge is being fueled by antisemitism.

Israel had also blasted Pretoria for sympathizing with terrorists who massacred civilians:

“South Africa’s claim has no factual and judicial basis and is a despicable and cheap exploitation of the court,” the ministry says in a statement. “South Africa is collaborating with a terror group that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

The ministry blames Hamas for the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by attempting “to carry out genocide” on October 7, when terrorists from the Strip killed some 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages after invading southern Israel.

"We call on the International Court of Justice and the international community to reject the baseless claims of South Africa out of hand," the response statement said further.

Below: Israel is now tailoring its messaging in response to growing outrage and pressure...

But Global South countries in particular are likely to support the case. Russia and China too have been deeply critical of Israel's large-scale bombardment of densely populated civilian areas of the Gaza Strip. The death toll has soared past 23,000 killed, according to Palestinian sources.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Western Elite, Not Ukraine, Is Russia’s True Enemy

korybko  |  President Putin said during a meeting last week with servicemen at a military hospital in Moscow that the Western elite, not Ukraine, are their Russia’s true enemies. This is an important clarification since it’s easy for folks to lose sight of the conflict’s larger dynamics after over 22 months of fighting despite repeated reminders from the Kremlin about what’s really driving the violence. The undisguised bloodlust of the Kiev regime and their supporters also distracts from the Western elite’s puppet master role.

The Russian leader published a treatise in summer 2021 “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”, where he also not only reaffirmed his recognition of Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent state, but also endorsed it. In his words, “You want to establish a state of your own: you are welcome! But on what terms?” Simply put, he made peace with the fact that Ukrainians nowadays regard themselves as separate from Russians, but he wants their states to respect each other’s interests.

Therein lies the roots of the current conflict since post-“Maidan” policymakers have consistently done the West’s bidding at Russia’s expense because they owe their power and wealth to the former. That New Cold War bloc envisaged threatening Russia through multidimensional means from Ukraine in order to coerce it into becoming their vassal. If it wasn’t for this grand strategic goal, then everything that led up to Russia’s special operation over the past decade wouldn’t have happened.

Regrettably, Ukraine’s role as the West’s “anti-Russia” was eventually embraced by a growing number of its people, whose identity was reshaped around World War II-era fascist nostalgia as a result of their post-“Maidan” regime’s socio-cultural policies and the past three decades of Western “NGO” work. Reversing this radical revision of Ukrainian identity from its pre-World War I and Soviet-era roots to today’s neo-fascist form is what Russia is referring to when it says that it wants to denazify Ukraine.

These changes in how Ukrainians view themselves were brought about through the abovementioned artificial means, but their consequences have been very real for everyone as evidenced by recent events. This observation doesn’t absolve those who nowadays embrace these views of their personal responsibility for them, especially for the crimes that they commit under the influence of this ideology, but it crucially places the past ten years’ processes into their appropriate context.

Accordingly, those Ukrainians who remain committed to their country’s Western-cultivated neo-fascist identity are Western Hybrid War pawns against Russia, while those who haven’t fallen under the influence of this ideological scourge and retain their original identity aren’t deemed a threat. The real threat all along has been the Western elite, specifically its liberal-globalist faction that’s responsible for reshaping Ukrainian identity in order to geostrategically exploit that country as explained.

Even if the real enemy finally decided to comply with Russia’s requested goals of demilitarizing Ukraine, denazifying it, and restoring that country’s constitutional neutrality in exchange for a Korean-like “land-for-peace” armistice deal, then the second of them will be the most difficult to implement. Removing the post-“Maidan” regime and banning all public glorification of fascism (books, chants, flags, insignia, monuments, museums, etc.) would be a good first step but more would have to be done.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

AMLO Makes Reasonable Demands For Helping Cornpop With The Border

dailymail  | Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has spelled out a series of demands from the U.S. ranging from visas to a multi-billion infusion of funds – even as the Biden administration seeks to pressure Mexico to do more on its part to address the migrant crisis.

He wants the U.S. to deploy $20 billion plan to help Mexico and Central American countries dealing with the root causes of migration – while also calling for wholesale changes in U.S.-Cuba policy. 

'We are going to help, as we always do,' López Obrador said in a Friday speech 'Mexico is helping reach agreements with other countries, in this case Venezuela,' he said, before pivoting to his wish list.

'We also want something done about the (U.S.) differences with Cuba,' López Obrador said. 'We have already proposed to President Biden that a U.S.-Cuba bilateral dialogue be opened,' he said in remarks at a Friday press conference.

Lopez Obrador also said he wants the U.S. to provide visas to at least 10 million Hispanic migrants who have been living in the U.S. for 10 years or longer. 

His long list of demands come even as the Biden administration is asking Mexico to do more, as a surge of migrants continue to flow across the border. It also comes at a time when the Biden administration needs to show progress on the issue while getting hammered by Republican rivals and even some prominent Democratic mayors on the costs and social impacts of the surge.

Border encounters hit another stunning milestone in December with 300,000 apprehensions.

The U.S. is leaning on Mexico to do more to reduce those numbers. Late last month Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken flew to Mexico to meet with López Obrador.

In one sign that Mexico has the capacity to have an impact, arrests at the southern border fell to about 2,500 Monday, according to the Associated Press, a drop from 10,000 during a December peak.

 

The Senatorial Kayfabe On Mayorkas Changes Nothing - But It Is Entertaining...,

KATV  |   Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., chastised Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday over his alleged mishandli...