"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of the people." -- John F. Kennedy

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The CIA helped build 12 secret spy bases in Ukraine along the Russian border as part of the agency’s support for Ukrainian intelligence that started in 2014, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

The report described one of the CIA-built spy bases as an underground bunker used by Ukrainian soldiers to “track Russian spy satellites and eavesdrop on conversations between Russian commanders.”

The Times report sheds new light on the CIA’s involvement in Ukraine, which played a major role in provoking the Russian invasion. A European official told the paper that when Russian President Vladimir Putin was considering invading Ukraine toward the end of 2021, the head of one of Russia’s main spy services told him that the CIA and Britain’s MI6 were controlling Ukraine and turning it into a beachhead for operations against Moscow.

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Sweden cleared its last hurdle to join NATO on Monday as Hungary’s parliament ratified its membership.

“The parliaments of all Nato member states have now voted in favor of Swedish accession to NATO. Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said after the vote.

Sweden will formally join NATO once it submits its instrument of accession with the US government.

Hungary was the last holdout, and its approval came just over one month after the Turkish parliament ratified Sweden’s NATO bid. Turkey initially delayed Finland from joining the alliance as well but approved its membership in March 2023.

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In a recent CNN interview, the normally very confident US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland sounded a little desperate. She was trying to make the case for Congress to pass another $61 billion dollars for the neocons’ proxy war project in Ukraine and she was throwing out the old slogans that the neocons use when they want funding for their latest war.

Asked by CNN whether she believes that Congress will eventually pass the bill, Nuland responded that she has confidence that, “we will do what we have always done, which is defend democracy and freedom around the world…”

What Nuland is attempting here is what the neocons always do. They try to wrap their terrible policies up in the American flag and sell it to the American people as something reflective of “our” values. If you oppose another neocon war, well then you are unpatriotic according to their trickery.

But Americans are waking up to the lies of the neocons and more and more are realizing that there is no “we” when the neocons are trying to sell another war. It is “them.” The “we” in the equation are the people who are being robbed to pay for what will inevitably be another neocon failure.

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I watched the uncensored video of US airman Aaron Bushnell self-immolating in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington while screaming “Free Palestine”. I hesitated to watch it because I knew once I put it into my mind it’s there for the rest of my life, but I figured I owe him that much.

I feel like I’ve been picked up and shaken, which I suppose was pretty much what Bushnell was going for. Something to shake the world awake to the reality of what’s happening. Something to snap us out of the brainwashed and distracted stupor of western dystopia and turn our gaze to Gaza.

The sounds stay with you more than the sights. The sound of his gentle, youthful, Michael Cera-like voice as he walked toward the embassy. The sound of the round metal container he stored the accelerant in getting louder as it rolls toward the camera. The sound of Bushnell saying “Free Palestine”, then screaming it, then switching to wordless screams when the pain became too overwhelming, then forcing out one more “Free Palestine” before losing his words for good. The sound of the cop screaming at him to get on the ground over and over again. The sound of a first responder telling police to stop pointing guns at Bushnell’s burning body and go get fire extinguishers.

He remained standing for an unbelievable amount of time while he was burning. I don’t know where he got the strength to do it. He remained standing long after he’d stopped vocalizing.

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On 7 October, Hamas carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel. Under the cover of a barrage of rockets, fighters from the Hamas military wing, the Qassam Brigades, broke through the Gaza border fence to attack nearby military bases and settlements (kibbutzim).

Israel claims that during the attack, Hamas fighters massacred some 1,200 Israelis, the majority civilians, while committing unthinkable atrocities.

A close review of events on 7 October shows that Hamas fighters instead carried out what amounted to both a military assault and mass kidnapping operation to break Israel’s decades long siege on Gaza, which many view as the world’s largest concentration camp.

In the process, they did kill hundreds of Israelis, including soldiers, police, and civilians, while taking hundreds more as captives back to Gaza.

At the same time, many of the claims made by Israel about the scale and nature of Hamas atrocities, including the most horrific, have proven to be fabrications.

Shockingly, many of the Israeli civilians and soldiers who died that day were killed not by Hamas, but by Israeli forces themselves, both as a result of friendly fire and the controversial military policy known as the “Hannibal Directive.”

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The famine in northern Gaza, caused by Israel's strangling siege, has reached extreme levels, Palestinian residents there have told Middle East Eye. There have been several reports of people dying from malnutrition, including infants

Life for over half a million people there now revolves around a single task every day: finding something to eat. In this following account, a resident of Gaza City, who did not wish to be named, recounts to MEE's Lubna Masarwa the struggle to survive in a war-torn city.  

Things are difficult. Getting anything has become a difficult task, even simple things like sugar, salt and rice. 

We go on looking for them everywhere, even in old shops and abandoned homes. If and when we find them in shops, they are sold at crazy prices. 

About four days ago, around 800 bags of wheat flour came in. There are up to 700,000 people in northern Gaza. This means one bag for around every 1,000 people or so.

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On Saturday, western news agencies reported that closed-door negotiations took place in Paris that were aimed at reaching an agreement on a ceasefire in Gaza. According to Reuters the talks represented “the most serious push for weeks to halt the fighting in the battered Palestinian enclave and see Israeli and foreign hostages released.” Regrettably, the reports from Paris were largely a media-engineered deception intended to divert attention from the real purpose of the confab. Keep in mind, the primary attendees of the gathering were not senior-level diplomats or trained negotiators, but the directors of the Intelligence services including the head of Israel’s Mossad, David Barnea, Egyptian spy-chief Abbas Kamel, and CIA Director William Burns. These are not the men one would choose to hammer-out a hostage exchange or a ceasefire deal, but to implement electronic surveillance, espionage or black ops. Thus, it is extremely unlikely that they met in Paris to settle on a plan for the cessation of hostilities. The more probable explanation is that the respective spy-chiefs are putting the finishing touches on a collaborative plan to breach the Egyptian border wall so that one and a half million severely-traumatized Palestinians can flee into Egypt without any serious opposition from the Egyptian army.

Such an operation would require considerable coordination in order to minimize the casualties while, at the same time, achieving its overall objective. Naturally, any breach would have to be blamed on Hamas who will undoubtedly be the convenient scapegoat for blowing up a section of the wall creating an opening for thousands of stampeding Palestinians. In this way, Israel could characterize the mass expulsion as a “voluntary migration” which is the cheery-sounding Zionist sobriquet for ethnic cleansing. In any event, the bulk of Gaza’s Moslem population will have been evicted from their historic homeland and forced into refugee camps scattered across the Sinai Desert. This is Netanyahu’s endgame which could take place at any time.

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A long comment recently appeared below one of my articles taking issue with my recent writings on issues related to “the Jewish question and Jewish power and influence.” Though I find it hard to adequately respond to all of the comments on my articles and broadcasts, many of which are thoughtful, sometimes even brilliant, this one seemed to lend itself to being recast, along with my responses, in interview format. So the material below in boldface is the original comment, and my answers are in regular type.

It seems that ever since the October events, you’ve lost all nuance when it comes to discussing the Jewish question and Jewish power and influence.

I’d prefer to think that I only lost some nuance, not all of it. I think the Gaza genocide has revealed that people like E. Michael Jones, Gilad Atzmon, Mike King, Cat McGuire, and others who emphasize the role of Jewish power in creating huge problems have been more right than I had realized. But that doesn’t mean that I think less of any individual because of their Jewish religion or ethnic heritage. I still admire pretty much all the Jews I admired before October 7, including a long list of regular radio guests. So I retain that “nuance.”

The other day you said it is Jews who are responsible for the most mass murder of people ever, not Germans. First of all, is Jewish a true ethnic identity? Can one not be Jewish and German…or Jewish and Russian?

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Legalized abortion, that is legalized murder, has left women insensitive to murder. Consequently, murder is becoming legalized outside abortion. For example, Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, and our Great Country America vetoes the UN resolutions against Israel’s genocidal murder of the Palestinians. Washington has redefined genocide as “self-defense” by the Israelis committing the genocide.

The atrocities are beyond belief. The Israelis are committing genocide of the Palestinians and the Democrat regime here vetos UN cease fire resolutions. But an 18 year old black American woman is going to be tried for first degree murder because she waited too long before she aborted her baby. How can this be that the Israeli and US governments can murder at will, but if a black woman disposes of her baby after the expiration of the “use by” date of her legal right to murder, she is a murderess?

And look what the Great British and American Democracies have done to Julian Assange. Imprisoned in one form or the other for 12 years without any charges being brought. It is just like medieval times when feudal lords at their whim threw people in dungeons for keeps.

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Dick Van Dyke’s notorious assault on the Cockney accent, for years considered the only jarring element in the beloved 1964 film Mary Poppins, has been upstaged. For the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has found something even more offensive than Bert the chimney sweep’s iffy vowels.

The BBFC has decreed that the Disney classic — one of the most popular and successful children’s films ever made, and soon to be re-released to mark its 60th anniversary — must shed its long-held ‘U’ rating and be raised to a ‘PG’.

Which means our little cherubs can now sit down to enjoy the adventures of Jane and Michael Banks and their magical nanny, immortally played by Julie Andrews, only under the constraints of ‘parental guidance’.

The source of the board’s concern is the word ‘Hottentot’. For the BBFC, to quote Mary Poppins herself, the sound of it is ‘something quite atrocious’.

Yet it pops up just twice in the film and passes almost unnoticed . . . at least it did until this latest example of ‘woke’ lunacy, which shines the beam of publicity on an archaic expression the Board would, presumably, rather no one heard.

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Hundreds of farmers descended upon Brussels on Monday, clashing with police, spraying officers with manure, and pelting EU buildings with eggs as they protested outside an agricultural summit being held in the city.

Chaotic scenes broke out in Brussels with farmers protesting the European Union’s green agenda and plans to ink a free trade deal with the South American ‘Mercosur’ bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, which farmers in Europe fear will serve to further undercut their prices and threaten their ability to stay in business.

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Ukraine was trying to present its 10 year-long killing of civilians in Donbass as fight with terrorists, Russian first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky said

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday urged NATO countries to raise their military spending and send more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, but seemed to herald a Russian victory in the conflict in an apparent slip-up.

Trudeau spoke in Warsaw after meetings with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Andrzej Duda – both of whom are vocal supporters of Ukraine, but are political opponents at home. 

“We know that Russia must win this war – sorry, Ukraine must win this war against Russia,” Trudeau told reporters at a joint press conference with Tusk.

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The Danish decision to end its investigation into the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea was probably motivated by Copenhagen’s unwillingness to establish the truth about the crime, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has suggested.

The energy links built to bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany were ruptured by unknown perpetrators in a series of explosions in September 2022. Germany as well as Denmark and Sweden, in whose economic zones the sabotage took place, had each launched separate inquiries. Sweden closed its probe earlier this month.

The Copenhagen Police do not see “sufficient grounds to pursue a criminal case in Denmark” over the incident, they said on Monday in a statement announcing the development. The probe, conducted jointly with the Danish Security and Intelligence Services (PET), was “complex and comprehensive” and resulted in a conclusion that the incident was deliberate sabotage. Nothing was said about possible suspects in the press-release.

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Billing disputes surged year-on-year among Gen X and Millennials, LegalShield said, who have experienced a 96 percent increase in billing inquiries. Calls are up across the board as well, with a 53 percent increase among all LegalShield members, indicating a broader rise in billing-related issues.

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Joe Biden administration officials admitted that six weeks into the undeclared war in Yemen, the US and UK strikes have failed to erode the Houthis military capabilities. The officials said the US is surprised at the Houthis’ military capabilities and that Washington has a limited understanding of how advanced their weapons systems are.

On January 11, President Biden ordered the first round of strikes in Yemen. The White House claimed the attack was designed to force the Houthis to end attacks on Israeli-linked shipping.  The Houthis, or Ansar Allah, are attacking ships they suspect to have ties with Israel to pressure Tel Aviv to end the genocide in Gaza.

A disabled and leaking oil tanker last week: the Belize-flagged bulk carrier Rubymar. Planet Labs PBC via AP

Without any Congressional approval, Biden has ordered strikes on Yemen nearly every day. The attacks have not achieved their desired effects as the Houthis have expanded their targets to include US and UK-linked shipping.

Last week, missiles fired from Yemen hit multiple ships in the waters off the country’s coast. One ship suffered significant damage and is leaking oil.

The recent attacks included the use of new weapons systems for the Houthis, including naval drones. Biden administration officials speaking with CNN told the outlet that the war is not having its desired outcome, that the Houthis’ military capabilities continue to surprise the White House, and that the Pentagon is unaware of the extent of weapons stockpiles in Yemen.

"They continue to surprise us. We just don’t have a good idea of what they still have," said one senior defense official. Multiple officials revealed the issue is that Washington does not know the size of the Houthis’ arms stockpiles and cannot assess if the hundreds of US bombs dropped on Yemen have impacted the Houthis military abilities

Claire's Observations:  Please do NOT get me started on the insanity of a theocracy in the 21st century, but there is one thing these folks in DC need understand.  The clerics running Iran are many things, but stupid... isn't one of them.  

They've had their computers crunch the numbers, to give them a viable prediction of what these disruptions are costing companies which transit these sea routes, and also the costs of US/UK fire power against them, which is enormous.  What the Houthis are using are dirt-cheap, in comparison.

And all this continues, because the leadership of the US, is collectively  impotent to stop the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and Israel still refuses to even entertain the possibility of a Palestinian state.   

The Houthis (and their Iranian masters) have made clear what they want; a viable ceasefire, enabling aid to come to Gaza in appropriate amounts, and the beginning of talks leading to a viable Palestinian state.

So far, the US can';t even get Israel to agree to a cease-fire, while Israeli politicians are collectively relieving themselves in the faces of senior US and international politicians, and telling therm "It's raining!".

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French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that deployments of troops to Ukraine by NATO members and other allies cannot be ruled out because Western powers must stop at nothing to ensure that Russia does not defeat Kiev’s forces.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground,” Macron told reporters after hosting a meeting of European leaders on Monday in Paris. “But in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything. We will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.”

France hosted Monday’s summit of Ukraine backers to demonstrate steadfast support and European unity amid concerns that US aid to Kiev may stop, especially if Donald Trump wins this year’s presidential election. Macron said that while Ukraine’s European allies want to avoid escalating the conflict into a direct war with Russia, they agree that they must do more to ensure that Moscow doesn’t win.

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Undersea data cables in the Red Sea have reportedly been damaged, months after Yemeni Houthi rebels threatened to do so.

At least 15 submarine cables pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea, a body of water just 26km wide at some points. Yemen is the Strait’s northern shore.

The first reports of damage to submarine cables off the coast of Yemen began emerged on Monday morning, with Israeli news outlet Globes claiming that four cables (EIG, AAE-1, Seacom and TGN-EA) had experienced damage. Seacom has reportedly confirmed damage to a cable it operates on a stretch between Kenya and Egypt.

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Berlin conducts secret negotiations with New Delhi on the purchase of shells for Kiev, the Spiegel newspaper reported on February 26, citing anonymous sources.

The newspaper notes that Germany is negotiating with India on the supply of shells. The deal is being discussed through intermediaries, as New Delhi does not want to spoil relations with Moscow.

Spiegel writes that similar discussions are underway with Arab countries, some of which have large stocks of ammunition. In addition, some Balkan countries and African states also have stocks or the ability to produce them.

According to the estimates of German security services, Ukraine’s stockpile of shells will be sufficient until July but might be depleted earlier.

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On February 26, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported the destruction of the Norwegian-made NASAMS air defense missile launcher in Ukraine. The Russian military officials provided no details of the attack, but they were soon revealed by the footage from the Ukrainian battlefield.

Unofficial Russian military sources shared a video of the destruction of the NASAMS system, which reportedly took place near the village of Malyshevka in the Zaporozhye region, about 50 km from the frontlines, where heavy battles are ongoing. The launcher was destroyed by Russian Iskander. At the end, fire is clearly seen as a result of the destruction of rocket engines of anti-aircraft missiles and the fuel in them.

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It is ten years, not two years, since the war in Ukraine began. And once you have grasped that, you can begin to think clearly about it. What is Britain’s interest in this conflict? Why do so many in politics and the media cheer for carnage that has devastated Ukraine, the country they claim to love and admire? What has Ukraine gained from it? What can Ukraine and its people possibly gain from it?

I ask only that you use your minds instead of your emotions. Let us begin with what happened ten years ago. It ought to be shocking.

In 2014, Ukraine had a crude but functioning democracy. This worked because the country was pretty evenly divided between its east and its west. Power swung from one side to the other, and in 2010 Viktor Yanukovych won the presidential election with 12.5 million votes, beating his nearest rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who won 11.6 million.

Unlike the previous election in 2004, nobody seriously disputed the result. So in February 2014, Yanukovych was the lawful head of state, with two years to run.

If we believe, as we all say we do, in democracy, then this is a near-sacred fact. The widespread and justified disgust over the invasion of the US Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021, is based on the belief that power rests on ballots, not on force.

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