"The press ... traditionally sides with authority and the establishment." -- Sam Donaldson, ABC correspondent

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President Joe Biden announced the US would make Kenya a Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) during President William Ruto’s visit to Washington. Countries that become MNNAs receive more access to American training, weapons, and technology. In exchange for Ruto agreeing to send Kenyan forces to Haiti, Biden lavished Nairobi with an upgraded military relationship. 

On Thursday, Biden informed Congress of his intent to make Kenya the 19th MNNA. “Kenya is one of the US Government’s top counterterrorism and security partners in sub-Saharan Africa,” the letter from the White House to the Capitol said. “And the designation will demonstrate that the US sees African contributions to global peace and security as equivalent to those of our Major Non-NATO Allies in other regions.”

Becoming a MMA will significantly upgrade Kenya’s military ties with the US. Nairobi will get access to advanced US weapons, training, and technology. The arms include depleted uranium anti-tank ammunition. 

Tags: AFRICA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Hungary is reevaluating its role in NATO, as it has no intention to take part in actions that could involve member states in the Ukraine conflict and lead to a direct clash with Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Speaking on local Kossuth Radio, Orban stated that his country has already been relegated to the role of a non-participant within the US-led military bloc due to its stance on Ukraine, and Budapest is now working on legal ways to retain its membership but reserve the right to abstain from joining NATO operations it disagrees with.

“Hungary’s position must be redefined, our lawyers and officials are working on ways to allow Hungary to continue to exist as a NATO member without participating in NATO activities outside the bloc’s territory. We need to create a new approach, a new definition for our position as a pro-peace force within NATO,” Orban said.

Tags: EUROPE, NATO, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE, WMD
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by Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt Posted on May 24, 2024

Yes, the number of deaths in Gaza in the last seven months is staggering. At least, 35,000 Gazans have reportedly perished, including significant numbers of children (and that’s without even counting the possibly 10,000 unidentified bodies still buried under the rubble that now litters that 25-mile-long stretch of land). But shocking as that might be (and it is shocking!), it begins to look almost modest when compared to the numbers of civilians slaughtered in America’s never-ending Global War on Terror that began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and, as Nick Turse has reported in his coverage of Africa, never really ended.

In fact, the invaluable Costs of War project put the direct civilian death toll in those wars at 186,694 to 210,038 in Iraq, 46,319 in Afghanistan, 24,099 in Pakistan, and 12,690 in Yemen, among other places. And don’t forget, as that project also reports, that there could have been an estimated 3.6 to 3.8 million (yes, million!) “indirect deaths” resulting from the devastation caused by those wars, which lasted endless years – 20 alone for the Afghan one – in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Today, Nick Turse reports on how the Pentagon has largely avoided significant responsibility for civilian deaths from its never-ending air wars, not to speak of failing to compensate the innocent victims of those strikes. The civilian death toll in this country’s twenty-first-century conflicts is, in fact, a subject he’s long focused on at TomDispatch in a devastating fashion. In 2007, he was already reporting on how the U.S. military was quite literally discussing “hunting” the “enemy.” (“From the commander-in-chief to low-ranking snipers, a language of dehumanization that includes the idea of hunting humans as if they were animals has crept into our world – unnoticed and unnoted in the mainstream media.”) And when it comes to the subject of killing civilians without any significant acknowledgment or ever having to say you’re sorry, he’s never stopped. ~ Tom Engelhardt

Constant Killing: Despite Blood on Its Hands, The Pentagon Once Again Fails to Make Amends

by Nick Turse

Tags: ASSASSINATION, CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE, WMD
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Responding to the International Court of Justice’s order demanding it halt Rafah operations to endanger Palestinian civilians, Israeli politicians accuse the tribunal of antisemitism and support for terrorism.

“There should only be one answer to the irrelevant order of the antisemitic court in The Hague: the occupation of Rafah, the increase of military pressure and the complete defeat of Hamas,” tweets National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir. “Our future does not depend on what the gentiles will say, but on what the Jews will do,” he adds, quoting Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Had this “antisemitic court” been active during the Holocaust, “it would undoubtedly have issued orders against the Allies,” declares Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf who is in Ben Gvir’s party.

“Those who demand that the State of Israel stop the war, demand that it decree the cessation of its existence — we will not agree to that,” argues Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. “We will continue to fight for ourselves and for the entire free world. History will judge who today stood by the Nazis of Hamas and ISIS.”

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Judging by developments over the past several weeks, it would appear that nothing going on in Washington matters quite as much as defending Israel no matter what the Jewish state does. The White House and its befuddled leader President Joe Biden are obsessed with every twist and turn of the Israel and media shaped narrative, basing it on two key words “terrorism” and “antisemitism.” It plays out like this: Israel is a victim of terrorism from enemies seeking to destroy it and those who criticize the Israeli “self-defense” response are motivated by nothing less than antisemitism. It is also being claimed ludicrously in Washington that Israel is fully capable of investigating itself if war crimes actually were committed, something that it never has done, note particularly the lack of any follow-up in cases involving the recent killing of American citizens.

The necessity to support what are obviously parts of a suspect exculpatory narrative has administration clowns like Karine Jean-Pierre, Matthew Miller, John Kirby and Antony Blinken falling over themselves trying to explain developments using arguments which are frequently clearly based on lies. Sometimes the lies are huge, like the Blinken claims that the US foreign policy does not favor Israel and treats everyone the same, or that a thorough State Department investigation has failed to sustain the claims that Israel is engaging in war crimes to possibly include genocide.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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In a desperate attempt to stave off a humiliating defeat in Ukraine, “Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly asked President Biden to greenlight Ukrainian missile strikes on targets deep inside Russia.” The change in policy will have no material impact on the ongoing ground war in Ukraine, although it could trigger a response that would put NATO in direct conflict with Moscow. In short, Washington’s looming defeat in Ukraine has compelled administration decisionmakers to implement a strategy that could precipitate a Third World War. This is from the New York Times:

Since the first American shipments of sophisticated weapons to Ukraine, President Biden has never wavered on one prohibition: President Volodymyr Zelensky had to agree to never fire them into Russian territory, insisting that would violate Mr. Biden’s mandate to “avoid World War III.”

But the consensus around that policy is fraying. Propelled by the State Department, there is now a vigorous debate inside the administration over relaxing the ban to allow the Ukrainians to hit missile and artillery launch sites just over the border in Russia — targets that Mr. Zelensky says have enabled Moscow’s recent territorial gains….

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Widely circulating social media images appear to confirm that the US military has deployed a C-RAM system (Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar) to safeguard the pier from aerial attacks such as drones or rockets.

Videos suggest it has already seen some action, possibly having taken out a drone flying nearby. Or else, it may have been a planned live-fire test to ensure its positioning and capabilities once installed. The C-RAM is relied upon to protect US forward operating bases elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as places like the US Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Russia's Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine if a negotiated ceasefire that recognises the current battlefield lines can be agreed, Russian sources claim.

Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin's entourage, told Reuters the veteran Russian leader had expressed frustration to a small group of advisers about what he views as Western-backed attempts to stymie negotiations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's decision to rule out talks.

'Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire to freeze the war,' said another of the insiders, a senior Russian source who has worked with Putin and has knowledge of top level conversations in the Kremlin.

He, like the others cited in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity given the matter's sensitivity.

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Meta has suspended the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a right-wing Israeli group called Tzav 9, responsible for organising attacks on aid convoys to the Gaza Strip.

The Tzav 9 group has been blocking aid convoys en route for Gaza since January, arguing that Palestinians should not be able to access aid until the hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October 2023 are released.

Last week, the group claimed responsibility for blocking a shipment from Jordan at the Tarqumiya checkpoint in the Hebron Hills region, spilling some of the goods from the trucks onto the ground.

Later that day, two trucks from the convoy were set on fire, according to Israeli media.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Vladimir Putin has, in the last few hours, apparently once again reiterated he is ready to authorise talks with the aim of arriving at a settlement with Ukraine that once more brings peace. 

Putin, in my opinion, is doing something eminently sensible. 

I believe he knows that new elections will be held in Ukraine once a peace settlement is agreed and that these will lead ultimately to renewed peace. Those elections, he knows, will bring to power Ukrainian politicians seeking permanent peace with Russia and with it, permanent neutrality. The Ukrainian people, heartily sick of the war, will certainly wish an end to the possibility of future war. They will thus vote in political representatives who also hold this view. 

Russia is already renewing the infrastructure in the lands that have become part of the Russian Federation since February 24th 2022, and is bringing to the people there all the many social, financial and health benefits that all citizens of the Russian Federation enjoy. The people in the new regions will prosper and Ukrainians seeking work will migrate there and it is inevitable too that trade between Ukraine and Russian will recommence in even greater measure than before. 

Tags: ECONOMY, ENERGY, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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After a spate of similar Gladio-style black ops, the recent assassination attempt on the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico proves that the liberal wing of the NWO globalist cabal is out for blood as never before.

Slovak PM Fico shot:
The politician was wounded after
an assailant fired multiple shots

As for exactly why Fico was targeted for this political murder, the reasons are both obvious and several as explained in the following exposé.

Here’s why the NWO cabal just targeted the
Slovakian prime minster for assassination.

As always, the end goal of these highly politically disruptive and violent events is to trigger a color revolution in the nation targeted by NATO and the Western Intel Community.

Slovakia faces ‘civil war’ – Interior Minister

As for the established pattern of these assassinations and attempts, one need look no further than the stabbing of presidential candidate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in 2018.  Known as the Brazil’s Trump, the purpose behind that hit ought to painfully obvious to every conservative in the world by now.

Tags: ASSASSINATION, EUROPE, RELIGION/ATHEISM
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New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg’s key witness against Trump is Michael Cohen. The former Trump lawyer has long accused him of committing a crime. Cohen claimed that Trump broke the law by falsifying business records.

Yet legal experts have declared Cohen did more damage to the prosecution. His tarnished reputation and questionable claims could have undermined Democrats’ case against the former president.

Cohen even admitted during the trial that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from Trump. He might have even lied under oath about several key details. Now, it looks like House Republicans are fed up with this guy. And they are bombarding the DOJ with demands.

From The Post Millennial:
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer urged the Department of Justice leader to take “immediate action” on the criminal referrals issued by congressional committees for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen…

[Cohen] “been referred to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on at least three separate occasions by Republicans on the House” Oversight and Judiciary Committees and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence “for committing perjury and knowingly making false statements during his testimony at a Congressional hearing and deposition.”

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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It seems progressives stir up protests, now, every election year. Perhaps they hope to fearmonger voters into backing the candidate of their choice, through dangerous demonstrations and even rioting.

This year, the progressive left has chosen a losing battle to fight. Far-left Democrats are protesting U.S. ally Israel and its war against Hamas.

But progressives aren’t targeting Republicans in their fight to get America to abandon the one Jewish state in the world. They are becoming increasingly hostile to Democrats. Now, they are taking their fight all the way to the top. And they just gave one of Biden’s top officials a very bad day.

From The Post Millennial:
Code Pink protesters showed up in the Senate on Tuesday to protest the Biden administration and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. A staffer for the group was arrested as a result of the agitation in the congressional chamber…

The agitators held up their hands, covered with red paint, and accused Blinken of being the “secretary of genocide.” They chanted the same phrases over and over, including “how embarrassing,” “war criminal,” “bloody butcher Blinken,” and other insults.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Since 2018, George Soros has funded the elections of numerous district attorneys. The radical progressive had put into power leftists who believed in “criminal justice reform.” In other words, Democrats who want to defund cops and put criminals back on the streets.

These radical DAs have won elections all over the country, including in red states. Republican governors and leaders have been able to shut down their radical agenda.

But in many blue cities and counties, these Soros-backed leftists have left devastation in their wake. In some cases, voters have fought back and removed them. One DA seemed entrenched, given how progressive his city has become. But not even the liberals of Portland were putting up with him anymore.

From The Post Millennial:
On Tuesday night, voters in Multnomah County, Oregon fired one-term George Soros-backed incumbent District Attorney Mike Schmidt…

The Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries found last year substantial evidence in favor of former prosecutor Amber Kinney, who alleged when she quit in 2022 that Schmidt had created a “workplace culture of fear, intimidation, and retaliation,” and had set women’s advancement in the office back by “decades.” …

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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It has been astonishing to watch the unraveling of the news media ever since then-candidate Donald Trump announced his entrance into the race for the White House. The once liberal-leaning news media has since transformed into a radical, leftist wing of the Democrat party that admittedly is willing to do almost anything to destroy former President Trump.

Leftist media personalities have banded together to attack Trump by any means necessary, even lying about him. These supposed journalists, especially the ones who once served in a political capacity for Joe Biden, are vicious in their tactics.

One former Biden administration lackey decided to write a book about her time in the White House. Now one of the “truths” she shared for all the world to see may get her hauled before Congress.

From the Washington Examiner:
Former White House press secretary and current MSNBC host Jen Psaki could face a subpoena from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over a false claim she made about President Joe Biden in her book.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Our president and his press secretaries seem to lie with every word they say and deny facts that anyone with a pair of eyes can see for themselves.

Scientists and doctors, formerly among the most trusted members of our society, lie to foster popular environmental theories and get government grants, or to promote Big Pharma and deter people from effective treatments.

Our news media no longer report the news; they shape the news as instructed

Our news media no longer report the news; they shape the news as instructed.

Here is just a sample of commonly promoted lies starting in 2020…

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
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President Joe Biden's new advisor for migration is a foreign-born advocate of open borders, a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse.

The National Pulse named this new advisor as Marcela Escobari, currently assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The international development specialist born in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia is unlikely to advance or support any measures to seriously stem the flow of migrants into the U.S., according to the outlet.

Escobari's stint at USAID was her second, as she had previously served in the same capacity under former President Barack Obama from May 2016 to January 2017. Biden then nominated her in 2021 for the same posting, with the Senate confirming her appointment in December of that year. Escobari assumed the position in January 2022, and has been there since.

But two insider sources familiar with the matter told Axios that Biden brought in Escobari to be part of the National Security Council (NSC). According to the outlet, the USAID official will serve as the NSC's coordinator for the Los Angeles Declaration, a 2022 pledge among 21 governments in the Americas to work together on migration.

Tags: IMMIGRATION/GLOBALISM, WHITE HOUSE
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The recent arrests of five top Russian military officers are likely just the first of dozens of military figures who will be jailed in a sweeping purge by the security services, Russian government officials and sources close to the Kremlin and the Defense Ministry told The Moscow Times.

Ostensibly an effort to stamp out military corruption, the Federal Security Service (FSB) is going after high-ranking generals in hopes of pinning the blame for the botched 2022 invasion of Ukraine on the military’s top brass and taking control of the distribution of the army’s vast budget — all with the Kremlin’s tacit approval.

But the arrests risk throwing the army into disorder at a time when Moscow is seeking to capitalize on Kyiv’s weapons shortages and press further into Ukrainian territory.

All of The Moscow Times’ sources requested anonymity in order to discuss a sensitive matter involving both the military and the FSB.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The famed historian and epidemiologist John M. Barry just threw out a trope that has become unbearably popular today. He predicted that in the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will make it possible to more perfectly enact pandemic lockdowns and develop vaccines.

“Artificial intelligence will perhaps be able to extrapolate from mountains of data which restrictions deliver the most benefits—whether, for example, just closing bars would be enough to significantly dampen spread—and which impose the greatest cost,” he writes.

“AI should also speed drug development.”

Maybe if you are an expert in anything these days and write in The New York Times, this is just what you say today to seem hip and with it, even if you have no idea what you are talking about. That’s the most likely reason.

Even so, this constant invocation of AI as the future solution to all problems is getting extremely annoying.

Can you imagine a world in which AI demands that your favorite local watering hole needs to shut? I can easily imagine it. I can also imagine local media citing AI as the final authority such that no human arguments can get in the way.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Every time a fancy new technology appears on the horizon, the experts emerge from the firmament to assure us that it will solve every human problem in the future.

And they always advocate that it be made the core of government policy, thus fixing all the problems with government that everyone has known from all ages. Thanks to this brilliant thing, it will be different this time.

This is exactly what happened with computers, starting in the mid-1950s once they became available. The new claim was everywhere: Computers would make the central planning called socialism possible. This claim was conjured up as an answer to an intractable problem that had vexed intellectuals since the 1920s.

Tags: COMPUTERS/INTERNET/AI, CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, ECONOMY
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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel must halt military operations in Rafah. The court made the ruling after South Africa appealed to the court to take action as Israeli military operation in the southern region of Gaza has displaced nearly a million people and prevented aid deliveries. Tel Aviv said the court’s decision will not stop Israeli forces from achieving their objectives in Gaza.

On Friday, ICJ President Nawaf Salam announced the court had ruled 13-2 that Israel must halt military operations in Rafah, open border crossings to aid deliveries, and allow investigators into Gaza. The ruling came after oral argument from South Africa, who requested the ICJ order Tel Aviv to halt the offensive, and Israel.

Late last year, Pretoria initially filed accusations of genocide against Israel at the World Court. In January, the ICJ issued a preliminary ruling that it was plausible that Israel was committing a genocide against the people of Gaza but stopped short of ordering Israel to halt military operations in the Strip.

After Israel launched an assault on Rafah earlier this month, South Africa asked the court to issue an explicit ruling ordering Israel to halt the offensive. Prior to the court issuing the ruling, Israeli officials said they would not comply with any demand to halt the offensive.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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As Russian forces are capturing more territory in eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is willing to end the war across the current frontlines, according to Reuters. Ukrainian officials rejected the offer.

Four sources speaking with Reuters said that Putin was prepared to freeze war along the current frontlines but was willing to keep fighting if Ukraine and its Western backers rebuked the offer for negotiations. “Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war,” one source said, describing Putin’s position.

When asked by Reuters about talks, Putin responded, “Let them resume.”

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced on Wednesday the broadening of a law that will allow Israelis to return to three settlements in the occupied West Bank that were dismantled in 2005.

In 2005, four settlements were dismantled in the West Bank and 21 in Gaza, a move known as the “disengagement.” Last year, the Israeli Knesset passed an amendment to the disengagement law allowing the return to one West Bank settlement, and Gallant’s moves allow settlers to return to the entire area, which is located in the northern West Bank between the Palestinian cities of Nablus and Jenin.

Announcing the move, Gallant vowed to do what he could to continue expanding West Bank settlements. “Just as I have done in every position I’ve held in government, I will continue to foster the settlement of Judea and Samaria,” he said, using the biblical name for the West Bank.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said he wanted to work with Congress on legislation to punish the International Criminal Court (ICC) for seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Blinken was asked by Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing if he would support legislation to counter “the ICC sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent, legitimate democratic judicial system.”

Blinken replied, “Given the events of yesterday, I think we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with again, what is a profoundly wrongheaded decision.”

The ICC was previously sanctioned by the US under the Trump administration for its plans to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The Biden administration reversed the sanctions, but the US pressure worked to get the court to announce the focus of its Afghanistan investigation would be on the Taliban and ISIS-K.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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A year after military contractors were caught dramatically overcharging the Pentagon, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who’ve been showered with campaign donations from the military industry is pushing a bill to make it even easier for those companies to rip off the Defense Department, according to our review of the bill.

After receiving more than $3.8 million in 2024 campaign donations from political action committees and individuals associated with the military industry, members of the House committee overseeing Pentagon spending just inserted two provisions into an upcoming bill that would exempt many more private products and services from competitive pricing guidelines and provide contractors far more leeway in what they can charge the Defense Department.

Last year’s Pentagon spending bill totaled nearly $884 billion. Over the past decade, more than half of that budget has gone to military contractors, according to an analysis from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a nonprofit think tank. Many of the top military contractors — including Boeing, RTX Corporation, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman — have seen sizable stock-value increases since the war in Gaza began in October 2023 while shooting down shareholder efforts at increased transparency.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Authored by Paulo Figueiredo via The Epoch Times,

The notion of censoring political opponents is as old as civilization itself. Throughout history, countless governments have employed this tactic to silence dissent and maintain their grip on power. From ancient Rome to modern-day dictatorships, the suppression of free speech has been a hallmark of authoritarian rule. Even today, censorship remains a pervasive force in countries such as China, where the Great Firewall restricts access to information; North Korea, where the state maintains an iron grip on all forms of media; and Russia, where journalists and activists face severe consequences for speaking out against the government.

However, in the West, the Enlightenment ideas championed by British thinkers like John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Paine paved the way for a radical departure from this oppressive tradition. Their writings, which emphasized the importance of individual liberty and the free exchange of ideas, inspired the groundbreaking “American experiment.” The adoption of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which unequivocally protects freedom of speech, marked a turning point in human history. This bold move proved successful, as greater freedom of expression fostered innovation, enhanced legal security, improved government accountability, and ultimately led to increased prosperity.

The Western world took notice and followed suit, giving rise to the so-called “Free World.” In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, enshrining the right to freedom of expression for all. While this development was not without its challenges—as it allowed for the dissemination of harmful and malicious ideologies like Nazism and communism—the consensus remained that the spread of bad ideas posed a lesser threat than the dangers of censorship. As the famous saying goes, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

However, this trend is now reversing at an alarming rate. In a recent hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski warned of an escalating trend of censorship in countries once considered bastions of free speech. He cited examples such as France, where the government has cracked down on so-called “hate speech,” and Germany, where social media companies face hefty fines for failing to remove “illegal content” within 24 hours. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have also introduced controversial laws that could stifle free expression.

But perhaps the most egregious example of this troubling trend is Brazil. According to Elon Musk, no country where X (formerly Twitter) operates experiences a worse state of censorship than Brazil, a nation until recently regarded as the largest liberal democracy in the Southern Hemisphere. Since 2019, the powerful Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, now infamous, has been conducting his investigation dubbed the “Fake News Probe.” This probe has targeted hundreds of individuals, most recently including Elon Musk himself, for allegedly spreading “disinformation.”

The consequences of this investigation have been severe. Numerous people, including journalists like me, have had their social media accounts blocked, passports revoked, and financial assets frozen.

Others have faced even harsher fates, including imprisonment—all under the guise of “combating disinformation” and “protecting democracy.”

Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, has been one of the most vocal critics of this crackdown. In a recent article, he wrote, “The level of repression and censorship in Brazil is staggering. It’s a country that has really become a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power and the erosion of civil liberties.”

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, DICTATORSHIP, SOUTH/CENTRAL AMERICA
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A video published on social media appears to show an Israeli soldier standing in the ruins of a mosque in Gaza, throwing pages of the Quran into a fire. 

According to the Israeli broadcaster Kan, the soldier posted the footage on his Instagram account. The incident was condemned by Israeli military police, who said they were investigating.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, RELIGION/ATHEISM, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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The family of Ibrahim Hamed, one of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, recently received shocking news. Their son, 59, was beaten so brutally by Israeli guards that his whole body was covered in bruises. 

The details were provided by a freed prisoner, Adeeb al-Samoudi, who had witnessed the beating in the notorious Gilboa prison.

This is not the first report of Israeli abuse and harassment against prominent prisoners to emerge in the past several months. Veteran prisoners like Nael Barghouti and Marwan Barghouti, who is at the head of Hamas's list of any potential prisoner exchange deal, have been subjected to physical abuse, humiliation and isolation.

Samoudi, from Jenin, was released last Thursday and transferred to hospital, suffering from the effects of torture and starvation.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Rents Are Plunging In These Major U.S. Cities

by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 24, 2024 - 07:40 PM

As everybody knows, during the early phase of the pandemic, both single-family and multifamily rental prices surged, fueled by the shift to remote work and changing migration trends - not the least of which was getting the hell out of the city by any means necessary...

But, as CNBC/NBC now notes, the dynamics affecting rental prices have since shifted.

Multifamily rents in April dropped by 0.8% compared to the same month last year, according to Apartment List data. This decline was triggered by a significant influx of new units hitting the market, with additional developments expected.

Despite this downturn, apartment rents experienced a marginal increase of 0.5% for the third consecutive month. This growth is modest, especially considering that rents typically start to climb in the spring.

This year's increase is not only smaller than usual but also less than the growth observed in the previous month, bringing the national median rent in April to $1,396.

A report by Apartment List said: "This is typically the time of year when rent growth is accelerating heading into the busy moving season, so the fact that growth stalled this month could be a sign that the market is headed for another slow summer."

In fact, the report says that apartment vacancies have reached a peak not seen since August 2020, climbing to 6.7% as of March. While the issuance of new multifamily building permits is decelerating, the volume of units currently under construction remains near an all-time high, and last year witnessed the highest number of new apartments entering the market in more than three decades.

On the other hand, single-family rents have exhibited more resilience, showing a 3.4% increase in March year-over-year, as reported by CoreLogic. However, this growth rate is gradually decreasing as build-for-rent companies continue to add more supply to the market.

According to the National Association of Home Builders' analysis of Census data, construction began on approximately 18,000 single-family homes designed for rent in the first quarter, up 20% from the first quarter of 2023.

Over the past year, 80,000 such homes have started construction, marking a nearly 16% increase from the previous year.

This robustness in single-family rents suggests that many potential homebuyers, deterred by rising mortgage rates—now back over 7%—and climbing home prices, are opting to rent houses instead.

For the first time in 14 years, single-family attached homes, such as townhomes, have experienced a year-over-year rent decrease, highlighting a shift in the rental market dynamics

  • In the nation's 20 largest cities, Seattle reported the highest annual increase in single-family rents at 6.3%, followed by New York at 5.3% and Boston at 5.2%.
  • On the decline were Austin, Texas with a 3.5% decrease, Miami with a 3.2% drop, and New Orleans, falling 1.4%
Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, ECONOMY
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by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 24, 2024 - 09:00 PM

A preliminary report produced by Iran's military has found no evidence of criminal activity or foreign interference in last Sunday's helicopter crash that killed the late President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others, according to state media.

The report was produced by the general staff of the armed forces, and it states Raisi's helicopter "caught fire after hitting an elevated area" and found no traces of "bullet holes" on the helicopter among the wreckage.

Rescue teams combing the mountains, via AJ/WANA

The aircraft had been flying on a "pre-planned route and did not leave the designated flight path" before the crash into the side of a mountain, official IRNA news agency reports.

"No suspicious content was observed during the communications between the watch tower and the flight crew," the findings concluded. The final radio communications between the presidential helicopter and two others flying nearby occurred one-and-half minutes before the crash.

The "complexity of the area, fog and low temperature" had also hindered the search and rescue efforts, which took hours. The site had been located with the help of an advanced drone sent by Turkey's military which has thermal imaging capabilities.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, DICTATORSHIP, IRAN
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