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Violating international law, European Parliament urges EU to add IRGC to terror list

Press TV – January 18, 2023

In violation of international law, the European Parliament has voted to call on the European Union and its member states to place Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) on the bloc’s terror list.

On Wednesday, the parliament members backed an amendment added to an annual foreign policy report, calling for “the EU and its member states to include the IRGC in the EU’s terror list.”

The hostile move passed by a vote of 598 in favor and nine against, with 31 abstentions.

The amendment will urge Brussels to blacklist the IRGC military force, the voluntary Basij force as well as the Quds Force.

And it would hit “any economic and financial activity involving businesses and commercial activities related to, owned, wholly or in part, by, or fronting for, the IRGC or IRGC-affiliated individuals, regardless of their country of operation.”

The vote does not oblige the European Union to act, but it comes as foreign ministers are already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Tehran at a meeting in Brussels next week.

“The EU Parliament has today voted to call for the EU and its Member States to include the IRGC on the EU’s terrorist list. The amendment… was passed with an overwhelming majority,” European Parliament member Charlie Weimers of Sweden tweeted on Wednesday.

He added, “Tomorrow, I hope members will take the next step & call to suspend the JCPOA.”

The JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the official name of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The marathon talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna aimed at the removal of anti-Iran sanctions and revival of the nuclear deal, underway since April last year, have remained stalled since August over foot-dragging by the United States and refusal to provide necessary guarantees to Iran.

The “politically manipulated” actions of the UN nuclear agency and the probe into so-called “uranium traces” found at “three undeclared sites” have also emerged as a key obstacle.

Iran maintains that the measures taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been at the behest of the Israeli regime and the Western states to seek leverage in ongoing nuclear talks.

Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen welcomed the European Parliament’s decision to blacklist the IRGC.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi censured “some Europeans” for their attempts to designate IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, stating that the move clearly attests to the mental and political weakness of its architects.

“There is no room for concern about the plan, and Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) will strongly press ahead with its path,” Vahidi told reporters after weekly cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran.

He underlined that the decision by a number of Western governments to blacklist the elite force as a terrorist organization contravenes the international regulations, and is a testimony to the mental, moral and political weakness of its engineers.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Two dead in fatal polar bear attack in Alaskan village of Wales on the Bering Strait

Polar Bear Science | January 18, 2023

Two people tragically died yesterday afternoon after an attack by a polar bear in the village of Wales on the Bering Strait. Few details are available and bad weather apparently hampered officials getting to the village immediately.

As expected, virtually all news reports are implying that a generic ‘lack of sea ice’ can be blamed for the incident. As usual, the specifics of this case show this claim is not only nonsense, but dangerous.

With the loss of sea ice and the ocean staying open later in the year, polar bears have been spending more time on land, which increases the chance of human encounters, said Joseph Jessup McDermott.

Polar bear attacks in winter are almost always associated with a bear that has not been able to resume feeding in the fall. More bears and restricted hunting means more young bears (as well as old bears or sick ones) become food stressed because they can’t compete with big mature males for food. Mature bears often steal any seals that young bears are able to kill, making the youngsters desperate for food.

The Chukchi Sea polar bears are currently thriving and numbers may still be increasing (AC SWG 2018; Conn et al. 2021; Regehr et al. 2018; Rode et al. 2014, 2015, 2018).

More details to follow on this horrific incident as they become available.

UPDATE 18 January 2023, 5:30PM PT: According to an Associated Press account, the victims were a 24 year old woman and her one-year old son: “Summer Myomick of Saint Michael and her son, Clyde Ongtowasruk, were killed in the attack, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement.”

No more details were provided on the state of the bear involved (sex, age, body condition). Regarding the blame-game, even though recent studies have shown that ringed and bearded seals in the Chukchi Sea are doing very well (Adam et al. 2019; Crawford and Quakenbush 2013; Crawford et al. 2015), Geoff York from Polar Bears International suggests there may not be enough seals for polar bears or the something may be wrong with the sea ice:

In this case, even though there is ice in the Chukchi and northern Bering seas, the quality of that ice is not known that well. More importantly, York said they don’t know what’s going on under the ice — or what the availability of seals and other prey is for polar bears.

The changes are also happening in winter, when people assume they are safe from polar bears being on shore.

“Communities may no longer be,” York said.

From the Alaska Daily News report (17 January 2023):

A polar bear killed a woman and boy Tuesday afternoon in the Northwest Alaska community of Wales, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers received a report of a polar bear attack around 2:30 p.m., troopers said in an online report.

According to initial accounts, a polar bear came to the village and chased several residents, troopers said.

The bear killed a woman and a boy, troopers said. Another Wales resident shot and killed the bear “as it attacked the pair,” troopers said.

The two people who were killed in the mauling weren’t identified in the report, and troopers said officials are working to notify their next of kin.

Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, said troopers are coordinating with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as they try to send personnel to Wales as soon as the weather allows.

Wales — a predominantly Inupiaq village of fewer than 150 people — is located on the far western edge of the Seward Peninsula bordering the Bering Strait, just over 100 miles northwest of Nome.

… Some communities in Alaska — for example, several on the North Slope — have had polar bear patrols to keep residents safe. That’s not currently the case in Wales.

“Wales does not currently have an active Polar Bear Patrol Program due to lack of government funding, unlike the North Slope,” McDermott said, “but this is something that ANCC has sought to pursue with other (nongovernmental organizations).”

There is ample sea ice in the region at the moment:

References

AC SWG 2018. Chukchi-Alaska polar bear population demographic parameter estimation. Eric Regehr, Scientific Working Group (SWG. Report of the Proceedings of the 10th meeting of the Russian-American Commission on Polar Bears, 27-28 July 2018), pg. 5. Published 30 July 2018. US Fish and Wildlife Service. https://www.fws.gov/alaska/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/bilateral.htm pdf here.

Adam, R., Bryan, A., Quakenbush, L., Crawford, J., and Biderman, L.2019. Bearded seal productivity in Alaska using harvest-based monitoring, 1975-2016. Poster presentation, Alaska Marine Science Symposium, 28 January-1 February.

Abstract: Declines in arctic sea ice extent, thickness, and duration are projected to negatively impact bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) by reducing their time to rest, pup, nurse, and molt on sea ice. Existing population estimates for bearded seals in Alaska cannot be used to detect trends; however, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game works with Alaska Native hunters to collect data from the subsistence harvest that are used to determine several population health indices, such as: pregnancy rate, age of maturity, and the proportion of pups in the sampled harvest. These indices were previously used to determine if declines in sea ice have affected bearded seals between 1975–1984 and 2003–2014.

During these time periods pregnancy rates varied minimally (92–99%); however, the average age of maturity decreased from 4.2 years in 1975–1984 to 2.9 years in 2003–2014. Additionally, pups were harvested in lower proportions during 1975–1984 than during 2003–2014 (26% and 48%, respectively), indicating that pups are still being produced, weaned, and are surviving to be harvested. Through 2014, we have not detected the decreases in population indices that have been predicted to occur with climate change. However, due to continued declines in sea ice, further monitoring is important; therefore, here we update our 1975–2014 results to include samples from 2015 and 2016.

Cameron, M. F., Bengtson, J. L., Boveng, J. K., Jansen, J. K., Kelly, B. P., Dahle, S. P., Logerwell, E. A., Overland, J. E., Sabine, C. L., Waring, G. T. and Wilder, J. M. 2010. Status review of the bearded (Erignatha barbatus). NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-211.
www.afsc.noaa.gov/Publications/AFSC-TM/NOAA-TM-AFSC-211.pdf

Conn, P.B., Chernook, V.I., Moreland, E.E., Trukhanova, I.S., Regehr, E.V., Vasiliev, A.N., Wilson, R.R., Belikov, S.E. and Boveng, P.L. 2021. Aerial survey estimates of polar bears and their tracks in the Chukchi Sea. PLoS ONE 16(5): e0251130. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251130 OPEN ACCESS video: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251130.s003

Crawford, J.A., Quakenbush, L.T. and Citta, J.J. 2015. A comparison of ringed and bearded seal diet, condition and productivity between historical (1975–1984) and recent (2003–2012) periods in the Alaskan Bering and Chukchi seas. Progress in Oceanography 136:133-150.

Regehr, E.V., Hostetter, N.J., Wilson, R.R., Rode, K.D., St. Martin, M., Converse, S.J. 2018. Integrated population modeling provides the first empirical estimates of vital rates and abundance for polar bears in the Chukchi Sea. Scientific Reports 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34824-7  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34824-7

Rode, K.D., Regehr, E.V., Douglas, D., Durner, G., Derocher, A.E., Thiemann, G.W., and Budge, S. 2014. Variation in the response of an Arctic top predator experiencing habitat loss: feeding and reproductive ecology of two polar bear populations. Global Change Biology 20(1):76-88. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12339/abstract

Rode, K. D., R. R. Wilson, D. C. Douglas, V. Muhlenbruch, T.C. Atwood, E. V. Regehr, E.S. Richardson, N.W. Pilfold, A.E. Derocher, G.M Durner, I. Stirling, S.C. Amstrup, M. S. Martin, A.M. Pagano, and K. Simac. 2018. Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity. Global Change Biology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13933/full

Rode, K.D., Wilson, R.R., Regehr, E.V., St. Martin, M., Douglas, D.C. & Olson, J. 2015. Increased land use by Chukchi Sea polar bears in relation to changing sea ice conditions. PLoS One 10 e0142213.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Environmentalism | , | Leave a comment

Are vaccine deaths being disguised as virus deaths?

By Professor Roger Watson and Dr Niall McCrae | TCW Defending Freedom | January 18, 2023

A new Covid-19 variant has appeared: XBB.1.5 (or ‘Kraken’, for the fear factor). This could explain why deaths are surging again, with Japan recording about 400 daily, and Australia (despite being in the height of summer) in the dozens. But are people really dying from the latest strain of coronavirus?

Excess mortality is highest in countries with the highest rates of Covid-19 vaccination. Correlation is not causation, but only the wilfully blind are describing this human toll as ‘baffling’. Ordinary people do not need scientific expertise to join the dots. At the very least, the authorities should be investigating this unprecedented rise in mortality as a possible iatrogenic disaster (ie caused by medical treatment, like thalidomide).

While there is growing public awareness of the lethality of the mRNA injections, the scientific orthodoxy is continuing to suppress the truth. In reports showing an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease after vaccination, researchers always moderate the message by stating that the benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the risks. However, many publications do not even consider the vaccines as a cause of illness or death.

Our editor alerted us to the article Covid Leading Cause of Death Among Law Enforcement for Third Year in MedscapeThe data for this study of police officers across the US were taken from an annual report issued by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, titled 2022 End-Of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.

The report claims that in the past year 70 officers died in the line of duty of causes related to Covid-19. The good news is that this is ‘down dramatically from 2021, when 405 officer deaths were attributed to Covid’, but this was still a significant loss of front-line personnel, surpassing the number of deaths from firearms-related incidents.

The authors of the original report attribute the decline in deaths to ‘reduced infection rates and the broad availability and use of vaccinations’. However, this putative triumph of the Covid-19 vaccine needs more scrutiny than afforded by Medscape writer Lisa O’Mary.

In the original report we were keen to know how many law enforcement officers had died of other deadly infections. We anticipated influenza, meningitis, gastroenteritis and septicaemia among other potential killers, but none of these are mentioned in the report despite exposure on duty. We also wondered what the ‘background noise’ was in terms of how many law enforcement officers had died in total during the preceding years whether in the line of duty or not. Sadly, this figure was not reported either.

Covid-19, uniquely amongst infectious diseases, is being recorded as a cause of death in the line of duty but it is not clear why. We do not have any doubts about the bona fides of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and we do not, at face value, question their use of the numbers with which they have been provided. What is clear is that, like most of the public sector in the US (and the UK) they have fallen for the Covid-19 narrative and been willing participants in the ‘fear porn’ that has gripped so many otherwise well-meaning organisations.

We see several problems with the researchers’ claim that low Covid-19 mortality in officers was due to the vaccine. The first problem is the distinction between the definition of deaths ‘with’ as opposed to ‘of’ Covid-19 and the possible attenuation of the Covid-19 virus over time. Then, we are not informed in the report, and data seem unavailable, about the extent to which Covid-19 testing was or is still being carried out. If there was a significant reduction in Covid-19 testing between 2021 and 2022 that would be a significant confounding factor.

A bold claim about the success of the vaccine rollout would need, at least, to show how many law enforcement officers were vaccinated. Even then the outcome would not provide much insight into cause (vaccination) and effect (death from Covid-19).

It is not clear how many US law enforcement officers are vaccinated. There were indications that compulsory vaccination was going to be introduced for law enforcement officers. But there was also evidence that the law enforcement unions ‘pushed back’ against the idea. In fact, uptake of Covid-19 vaccines was so low amongst law enforcement officers that hundreds were reported to be dying and that, according to the Washington Postthey were a danger to the public. Therefore, it seems incongruous that, on the one hand, law enforcement officers are a public hazard due to their low Covid-19 vaccination status, and on the other hand have their own lives saved ‘dramatically’ as a result of the Covid-19 vaccines.

There is a more serious question that the researchers failed to ask themselves. Is it possible that some of the 70 officers dying in 2022, and some of the 405 in the year of the initial vaccine rollout, were victims of the Covid-19 vaccine? Consider, for example, an officer who is hospitalised for breathlessness, and is discovered to have dangerous blood clots. On admission he tests positively on a PCR test, which is notoriously prone to false positives. If this officer were to die, he would be added to the Covid-19 mortality figures. This is not fantasy, but the reality of how the pandemic has been perpetuated over the last three years – with the collusion of the scientific community.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 3 Comments

Famous French Historian: “This War is About Germany”

BY NOAH CARL | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | JANUARY 18, 2023

Historian Emmanuel Todd is one of France’s leading public intellectuals. At the age of just 25, he predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union in his book The Final Fall: An Essay on the Decomposition of the Soviet Sphere. Later in his career, he carried out pioneering work on family structure and how it impacts societal development.

Now at the age of 71, Todd doesn’t seem to mind ruffling feathers – as his remarks in a recent interview with Swiss magazine Weltwoche make clear. “I’ll give you the first interview because you write in German,” he begins by saying. “This war is about Germany.”

About Germany? What does he mean? Todd explains:

The financial crisis of 2008 made it clear that with reunification Germany became the leading power in Europe and thus also a rival of the USA. Until 1989 it was politically a dwarf. Now Berlin showed its willingness to get involved with the Russians. Combating this rapprochement became a priority of American strategy. The United States had always made it clear that they wanted to torpedo the gas agreement. The expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe was not primarily directed against Russia, but against Germany.

Asked who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, Todd replies, “Of course the Americans. But that is completely unimportant. It is normal.” The important question is, “How can a society believe that it could have been the Russians?”

“We are dealing here with an inversion of possible reality,” says Todd. “The newspapers tell us how the Russians are shooting at prisons they have occupied. That they shoot at nuclear power plants that they control locally. That they blow up pipelines that they built themselves.”

It’s clear, then, that Todd subscribes to the theory I first discussed back in August: that the U.S. deliberately provoked conflict between Russia and Ukraine to sabotage the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, thereby ending (or at least severely curtailing) Russo-European interdependence.

Unfortunately, Todd doesn’t provide any specific evidence to back up his provocative claims. So the theory remains speculative. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should accept the conventional narrative that America just really cares about democracy.

So what, in Todd’s view, should be done? “I wish the Germans would understand: The side of the good they want to be on this time is not that of the United States,” he says. “The good means: end this war.”

While Todd certainly represents a minority viewpoint among Western intellectuals, as he himself acknowledges, it’s still worth considering.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Officially approved by the EU: Four insects hiding in your food

Free West Media | January 18, 2023

EU citizens who do not want to unknowingly eat insects should be particularly careful: The EU Commission has already approved four types of insects in different forms as “edible insects”.

The most recent approval was on January 5: From now on, after mealworms, grasshoppers and crickets, the grain mold beetle can also be used as an ingredient in foods such as bread, soups, pasta, snacks, peanut butter and chocolate products.

The mealworm received the first approval for a so-called “edible insect” in June 2021 : The EU Commission’s Implementing Regulation 2021/822 approved the placing on the market of dried larvae of Tenebrio molitor (meal beetle) as a “novel food”.

The SAS EAP Group from France has submitted the application and is allowed to market the mealworm in the Union. It may be sold individually or with a maximum content of 10 grams in protein products, cookies, dishes made from legumes and pasta products.

If insects are used, there must be a note on the packaging of the food that consumption may cause allergic reactions in people with known allergies to crustaceans and molluscs and their products and to house dust mites.

In November 2021, the second “edible insect” was approved by Implementing Regulation 2021/1975 : “Fair Insects BV” from the Netherlands has since been allowed to market frozen, dried and powdered Locusta migratoria (migratory locusts) in the EU.

Depending on the form of processing, the locusts may be used as ingredients in different maximum levels in the products such as processed potato products; dishes made from legumes and products made from pasta, meat substitution, soups and soup concentrates, legumes and vegetables in cans/jars, salads, beer-like beverages, alcoholic beverage mixes, chocolate products, frozen milk-based fermented products, cured meats.

Since 2022 and 2023 respectively, the domestic cricket (Acheta domesticus)  has been permitted in various forms of processing. Implementing regulation 2022/188 allows  the use in frozen, dried and powdered form. The application came again from “Fair Insects BV”. The house cricket, just as locusts, may be used in similar foods.

Since January 3, the Vietnamese company “Cricket One Co. Ltd” has also been allowed to sell “partially defatted powder from Acheta domesticus” in the EU by implementing regulation 2023/5 . Potentially affected foods are multigrain bread and rolls; crackers and breadsticks, cereal bars, dry bakery premixes, cookies, pasta products and many more.

The executive order 2023/58 of January 5 allows “Ynsect NL BV” from the Netherlands to bring larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus (grain mold beetle) in frozen, paste, dried and powdered form as a new food to EU citizens. The list of food categories in which the larvae can be used as an ingredient in most processed foods.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | Leave a comment

Lavrov: US Bill Countering Russia in Africa Represents ‘Colonial Mentality’

By Muhammad Osman – Samizdat – January 18, 2023

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called the US Congress bill on the fight against Russian activities in Africa “an American provocation” which harms primarily the Africans themselves and reflects the West’s colonial approach to the countries of the continent.

Earlier in the day, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, in an interview with Sputnik, said that the bill of the US Congress on combating Russian activities in Africa is contrary to international law and should be withdrawn.

“I assess this law in the same way as Madam Minister (of Foreign Affairs) of South Africa,” Lavrov said during a press conference on Wednesday. “As for how it can affect our relations with Africa, I think her comments already contain the answer. Probably, not every African country, through the mouth of its representative, can clearly indicate its position.”

The Russian official stressed that he had no doubts that even those who do not comment on this kind of “US provocation” still have a deep conviction that “this law harms Africans first of all.”

The minister argued that the US does not consider African nations its equals, adding that Washington’s behavior reflects a “purely colonial mentality in a new dimension.” Lavrov recalled the time when former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled across the African continent to call on “everyone to stop trading with Russia and China, because both Russia and China do it for self-interest.”

“But America, Pompeo said, trades with you solely so that you develop, and you have more democracy. Such, you know, a simple little thing, it is anywhere, and in Africa too, it is perceived as it deserves,” the Russian minister stressed.

In May 2022, the US House of Representatives approved a bill against “malign” Russian activities in Africa that “undermine United States objectives and interests.” The bill suggests the application of a “punishment” by the US against African countries for cooperation with Russia in various fields.

Earlier, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that at a meeting with US President Joe Biden, he spoke about the injustice of the US punishing African countries for ties with Russia, and expressed his disagreement with the bill, which contains such proposals.

Ramaphosa condemned the bill as being a “misplaced type of legislation”, which, he said, would harm Africa and “marginalize” the continent.

“We should not be told by anyone who we associate with, and we should never be put in positions where we have to choose who our friends are,” Ramaphosa told the reporters after his meeting with Biden.

Jacob Mudenda, speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, said earlier that African countries reacted with disgust to the US bill to counter the activities of the Russian Federation in the continent since it is an encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states maintaining relations with Russia.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

UK circumventing its own sanctions against Moscow to import Russian oil

By Drago Bosnic | January 18, 2023

It is now virtually common knowledge that the political West’s attempts to destroy the Russian economy through sanctions have failed spectacularly. However, what the Western mainstream propaganda machine is fighting tooth and nail to accomplish is suppressing the fact that the sanctions war has also backfired and is now ravaging Western economies, especially those whose prosperity was largely based on access to cheap Russian energy. This is particularly true for Germany, the European Union’s industrial powerhouse which is now suffering the consequences of its suicidal subservience to Euro-Atlantic Russophobia.

However, what’s much less commonly acknowledged is the fact that there are many countries that don’t seem to be too dependent on Russian energy, but are in fact suffering as a result of the sanctions war against Moscow. This is especially true for the United Kingdom, whose political establishment is one of the most fervently Russophobic in NATO. With London being one of the Kiev regime’s key backers, it would be expected to see the former colonial superpower much less dependent on any commodities coming from Russia. Still, Moscow’s status as the world’s premier energy superpower makes this extremely difficult (if not impossible) to achieve.

In order to tackle the mounting energy security issues, exacerbated not only by anti-Russian sanctions, but also by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK is now resorting to finding loopholes to circumvent its own sanctions against the Eurasian giant. The escalation of the Ukrainian crisis has led to a dramatic reshaping of European (and, indeed, global) energy markets, with the political West declaring its intention to cut dependency on Russian energy imports. Expectedly, the UK was at forefront of this effort and was even hailed as “one of the most successful countries” in achieving this after it officially stopped importing Russian oil and coal, while also imposing an outright ban on Russian natural gas.

By October last year, London’s imports of Russian energy were officially cut to almost nothing, with approximately $2.5 million of oil purchases and virtually no coal or natural gas from Russia. However, recent revelations cast serious doubt on these numbers, indicating that the UK’s claims mostly boil down to simple semantics. According to reports by various sources, the UK is not importing oil (directly) from Russia, but it still keeps importing Russian oil. This is possible thanks to third countries (India being one of them) that are now re-exporting Russian-sourced oil to the UK and others in the political West. This has provided a very convenient back door for imports of Russian oil into the country, while also being quite lucrative for third parties.

According to Kpler, India’s Jamnagar refinery, operating on the west coast of Gujarat, imported 215 shipments of Russian crude in 2022, which represents a 400% increase in comparison to 2021. At the same time, British companies have imported approximately ten million barrels of diesel and other refined oil products from Jamnagar since February 2022, which is an increase of more than 250% of what they bought from the Indian refinery during the previous year. The data indicates that this can only be explained by a much larger share of Russian oil being refined and then exported to the UK and elsewhere.

More importantly for Britain, this move is blunting the disastrous effects of energy shortages in the UK, a problem that is now affecting many other countries that have been forced to impose sanctions on Russia, often coerced into it by London itself. British companies have simply replaced imports directly from Russia with imports from third-party refineries that are buying Russian crude. Although there’s nothing illegal in such a framework, it’s still quite indicative of the UK government’s hypocrisy. London has been exerting tremendous pressure on others to stop importing Russian energy (Hungary perhaps being the best example of this), while secretly doing just the opposite.

Prior to Moscow’s counteroffensive against NATO aggression, India wasn’t particularly known for importing Russian energy, while it was even less common for its oil refineries to process Russian crude. Indian companies have always been oriented towards exporting refined oil to Europe, but their supplies to the old continent have skyrocketed as the demand is still there and someone needs to fill the gap. This is quite profitable for India, as prices in the EU are quite high, while Russia is supplying the Asian giant with record amounts of discounted crude. Meanwhile, British companies are turning a blind eye to this fact, as they need guaranteed energy supplies, so everybody seems content with this arrangement – except Kiev.

Oleg Ustenko, one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers, is accusing the UK companies of “exploiting weaknesses in the sanctions regime”.

“The UK must close the loopholes that undermine support for Ukraine by allowing bloody fossil fuels to continue flowing across our borders. About one in five barrels of the crude oil that they process is Russian. A big chunk of that diesel they produce now will be based on Russian crude oil,” Ustenko stated.

It remains to be seen if the UK will ever respond to these demands, as they don’t seem to be particularly important to London. It’s quite clear that even if one of the Neo-Nazi junta’s top overlords were to proceed with closing the existing loopholes, the idea that the UK won’t find new ones is downright laughable, as it would’ve never tried bypassing its own sanctions in the first place.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

US quietly shipping arms from Israel to Ukraine – NYT

RT | January 18, 2023

The US military is supplying Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds pulled from stockpiles based in Israel, according to the New York Times. The Pentagon is reportedly “scrambling” to find munitions as Ukrainian forces continue to exhaust their arsenal.

The Pentagon has drawn from a “vast but little-known stockpile of American ammunition in Israel to help meet Ukraine’s dire need for artillery shells,” the Times reported on Tuesday, citing multiple unnamed Israeli and American officials. While it’s unclear when the deal was struck, Israel has agreed to allow Washington to source some 300,000 155-millimeter rounds from warehouses on its territory.

“About half of the 300,000 rounds destined for Ukraine have already been shipped to Europe and will eventually be delivered through Poland,” the Times added.

Though the stockpile in Israel is intended for use in America’s Middle East conflicts, several of which continue on a simmer, the Pentagon has been forced to seek new weapons supplies as Ukrainian troops reportedly blow through around 90,000 shells per month – twice the rate produced by the United States and Europe combined.

The United States has sent or authorized the shipment of just over one million 155-millimeter rounds to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia kicked off last February. “A sizable portion” of that has been pulled from existing inventories in South Korea and Israel, a senior US official told the Times, though he did not specify the total sourced from each.

While Israeli officials “initially expressed concerns” about the plan to draw from stocks in their own country, believing it could suggest Israel is “complicit in arming Ukraine,” the government ultimately agreed on the condition that the Pentagon replenishes the armaments. Washington has additionally pledged to “immediately ship ammunition in a severe emergency,” the Times said.

Israel maintains ties with both Ukraine and Russia, and has sought to walk a diplomatic tight-rope between the two conflicting states since fighting erupted last year. Though it has offered to help broker peace talks and provided several rounds of humanitarian aid to Kiev, Israel has largely refused to join its Western allies in arming Ukraine or sanctioning the Russian economy, fearing such hostile actions could harm relations with Moscow.

Under President Joe Biden, the US has authorized some $25 billion in direct military aid to Kiev, recently agreeing to send 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and a range of other weapons in its latest $3 billion arms package. Ukrainian officials have continued to clamor for additional gear, however, and are now urging Washington and its European allies to send main battle tanks and better air defenses, among other weapons. While the US has so far declined demands for tanks, military leaders from the ‘Ukraine Defense Contact Group,’ which includes NATO members, will meet at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base on Friday to discuss the possible shipment of heavier arms.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 4 Comments

US-China unlikely to find breakthrough during Blinken’s upcoming visit to Beijing

By Ahmed Adel | January 18, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will try to prevent China from deepening its cooperation with Russia during his visit to Beijing. Although it will not succeed, Blinken hopes that perhaps other topics could de-escalate the trade war and lessen tensions over the Taiwan issue, and in this way, also incentivise Beijing’s move away from Moscow.

Politico reported that Blinken will visit China on February 5-6, where he will meet with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang. This meeting was later confirmed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It does raise the question why Blinken is seemingly desperate to meet with the Chinese foreign minister in Beijing. The US Secretary of State will likely try to divide Russia and China by raising the issue of Ukraine. Specifically, the US envoy may condemn the growing partnership between Moscow and Beijing, as it has done many times before, but offer incentives to move the Asian country away from Russia.

None-the-less, it is unlikely to work since China’s position is very firm and fully sympathises with Russia’s concerns about NATO’s encroachment and encirclement.

It is also speculated that during Blinken’s visit, the Americans would try to tactically reduce the extent of the trade war launched by former US president Donald Trump. Although the US are in public denial about it, policymakers in Washington are undoubtedly frustrated that the trade war against China and sanctions on Russia have failed to weaken them. In fact, this two-pronged American economic aggression has instead deepened trade ties and cooperation between the #2 (Russia) and #3 (Chinese) ranked military powers.

The visit will also relate to Taiwan. The US wants to find out if there is any possibility of a compromise or move following the victory of the staunchly “anti-China” Republicans in November’s midterm elections. They are even stepping up their military aid program to Taiwan and preparing for a visit by new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The visit is expected to take place in February or March.

Perhaps the Biden administration, along with Blinken, are trying to soften the future actions of the Republican-held House of Representatives. The problem for Washington is that the Chinese do not distinguish between Congress and the Office of the President. For Beijing – both offices are considered the official position of the US, even if it is contradictory.

It cannot be overlooked that Blinken’s visit will come before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow in March. For this reason, it is expected that the Secretary of State will try to conduct exploratory activities to find out what will happen when the Russian and Chinese leaders meet.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on January 17 that Beijing hopes for the US to adopt a correct perception, stick to dialogue rather than confrontation, and pursue win-win results rather than a zero-sum game.

“It is hoped that the US can work with China to fully deliver on the important common understandings reached between the two heads of state, and bring China-US relations back to the track of sound and steady growth,” Wang stressed.

Politico said in a report that Blinken’s “much-anticipated” trip to Beijing is a follow-up to the meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping had with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Indonesia in November 2022. At the time, Biden pledged to “maintain open lines of communication” with China despite worsening bilateral tensions.

According to Politico, some US observers, like former deputy assistant secretary of state Susan Shirk, believe that the visit will test China’s “moderate” foreign and domestic policies to satisfy the US. However, such a notion is ridiculous and unhelpful in recovering bilateral ties as it once again signals to China to compromise on its values and instead adhere to Western liberalism.

In fact, it is the US who is more desperate to repair relations with China, especially considering their own economic problems. The problem Washington has is that it does not want to compromise on the tensions it has created for itself.

“The Biden administration needs to bring back economic confidence, so what the US needs to do at the moment is to make full use of engagement with China to fix the damaged supply chains and save its own economy which is certainly in trouble. For instance, they should cancel the restrictions and sanctions that target China’s development but in fact harm the US economy as well,” The Global Times reported.

As mentioned though, despite the US needing to overcome this impasse, it is also stubborn and uncompromising in its endeavour to limit Chinese influence and preserve a unipolar world system. Biden has described China as the US’ only long-term competitor for global leadership and is orientating US foreign policy around this challenge, even whilst simultaneously attempting to contain Russia.

Although Blinken’s trip will also be the first by a top US official to China since Washington accused the country of perpetrating genocide against the Muslim Uyghurs, a charge rejected by Beijing, there is unlikely to be a major breakthrough during Blinken’s meetings with Chinese officials.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

THE ROOTS OF THE DEPOPULATION MOVEMENT

The Highwire with Del Bigtree | January 12, 2023

From population bomb to false prophet, Ehrlich, and his protege John Holdren’s, book Ecoscience has a concerning passage about a bioweapon as a “solution” to overpopulation. Meanwhile, history shows Holdren lifted the moratorium on gain-of-function research less than two weeks before Trump’s inauguration in 2017. Another data point to a troubling, ongoing investigation.

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The Highwire with Del Bigtree | January 12, 2023

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, world-renowned doctors and scientists are jumping ship. Many of those same experts, however, are pivoting sharply, insisting the same skepticism should not be applied to ‘safe and effective’ childhood vaccines. The HighWire host, Del Bigtree, whose 7-year investigation into Vaccine Safety and Policy in America inspired the launch of ICAN (icandecide.org) and The HighWire, explains why ‘it ain’t Just the Covid Vax’ that you should be worried about.

January 18, 2023 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment