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Kremlin identifies 'red line' in NATO-Russia relations

soldier/flags
© Sputnik/Stringer
NATO's "gradual invasion" into Ukraine has brought the US-led bloc right up to Moscow's "red line," the Kremlin has told CNN. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the situation poses an imminent threat to European security.

In an interview aired on Sunday, Dmitry Peskov cited documented Western promises, which, he noted, have never been "fixed in a legally binding way," that NATO would not expand further eastwards into the former Soviet bloc. In contrast to these pledges, over the past few years, NATO has used its 'open door policy' to absorb several former Warsaw Pact countries.

Moscow has drawn the line at Ukraine, Peskov told the American broadcaster.
"First, there were just words but with time we have seen the gradual invasion of NATO into Ukrainian territory, with its infrastructure, with its instructors, with supplies of defensive and offensive weapons, teaching [the] Ukrainian military and so on."
Putin's long time spokesman went on to say that these moves have brought NATO directly "to the red line," creating a situation which constitutes a "real threat" both for Russia and for the whole "European [security] architecture." Russia has a 3,000-km border with Ukraine, which, until the Ukrainian war broke out in 2014, was almost completely unfortified. These circumstances, which Moscow "couldn't tolerate anymore," prompted Putin's team to come up with a set of proposals to improve collective security, Peskov said.

Comment: According to the playbook: Create the scare tactic, make it untenable, offer it to the weak or undecided and get invited in.
Estonia is ready and able to host a contingent of up to 5,000 troops from NATO's rapid response force if the order to deploy them is given, Tallinn has said, despite Russian concerns over the US-led bloc's forces near its border.

Speaking on Monday to state-broadcaster ERR, the Estonian Ministry of Defense's Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm announced that the Baltic nation was prepared to accept a detachment of soldiers at an army base in the northeast of the country, around 110km (69 miles) from the frontier with Russia.
"Estonia has everything ready in case a NATO rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops arrives. There is an area in Tapa to receive allies, where equipment and weapons can be stored and distributed to units so that forces can move from there."
According to him, Tallinn is willing to accommodate soldiers in special containers and tents if there is not enough room for them in existing army quarters.
"The allies will not travel to us to sleep in barracks if they are required to come here in order to strengthen military power. If NATO troops have to stay in Estonia for a long mission, new barracks will be built for them. In terms of a containment policy, the Baltic region should be strengthened. There are clear plans on how to do this if necessary."
Prime minister Kaja Kallas said that Estonia, alongside Latvia and Lithuania, has begun discussions to beef up the presence of NATO soldiers on its territories due to a perceived Russian threat. Kallas remarked that
"if you look at the map, the Baltic states are a NATO peninsula and, therefore, we have our worries."
NATO initially bulked up its troop presence in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland in 2014, in the wake of Russia's reabsorption of Crimea.



Arrow Up

Extinction Rebellion donor leads world's top-performing hedge fund

Chris Hohn
© Micha Theiner/Cityam/Rex/Shutterstock
Chris Hohn runs the Children’s Investment fund and paid himself $152m last year.
The world's 20 top performing hedge fund managers earned a record $65.4bn ($48bn) profit for their clients in 2021 after bets placed on rising stock markets paid off.

The biggest winner was TCI, the fund run by British billionaire Sir Chris Hohn, which made a gain of $9.5bn last year, according to the annual rankings by LCH Investments.

TCI, which manages about $44bn of assets and is known in the City and on Wall Street as one of the most aggressive activist investors, made a gain of 23.3% in 2021. TCI, which stands for the Children's Investment fund, has made total gains of $36.5bn since it was set up in 2003.

Hohn, a philanthropist and climate crisis activist, paid himself $152m last year, less than a third of the $475m he received the previous year.

He has pumped more than £4bn into his personal children's charity and in recent years has taken on a second cause: the climate crisis, promising to use TCI's $44bn of investments to "force change on companies who refuse to take their environmental emissions seriously".

Oil Well

White House helpless as oil prices climb higher

oil well
© Global Look Press via ZUMA Press/Joel Angel Juarez
When President Joe Biden announced plans to release up to 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to lower retail fuel prices, many analysts warned that any effect this move would have would be short-lived. Indeed, prices dropped for a very short while and are now on the climb again, with the number of three-digit price forecasts growing.

The strategic reserve release was already a desperate attempt to put a lid on gasoline prices, pushed up by crude oil prices, themselves the result of a faster rebound in global demand and production constraints among OPEC members. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus, like the SPR release plans, had a transitory negative effect on benchmarks, but before long, they were once again on the rise.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to reach $90 per barrel later this year. This is also the price forecast of Goldman. JP Morgan recently said that crude could reach and exceed $100 this year, noting the decline in OPEC spare production capacity. The latest to join the bullish choir is Vitol, whose head for Asian operations told Bloomberg last week that oil had further up to go because of tight supply.

What this means for the Biden administration and its efforts to keep gasoline affordable for voters ahead of the midterms is nothing good. Perhaps more SPR releases could be organized, but that would have little more effective than the first announcement: like plenty of analysts have explained, oil prices are influenced by global rather than local factors, even a major oil-producing country such as the United States.

Comment: Offering fictions, ignoring facts, shutting down options, Biden's big plan runs on 'empty'.


Penis Pump

Estonia invites NATO troops to deploy in country, near Russian border

nato troops estonia 2018

FILE PHOTO: NATO troops in Estonia from exercise in 2018
Estonia is ready and able to host a contingent of up to 5,000 troops from NATO's rapid response force if the order to deploy them is given, Tallinn has said, despite Russian concerns over the US-led bloc's forces near its border.

Speaking on Monday to state-broadcaster ERR, the Estonian Ministry of Defense's Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm announced that the Baltic nation was prepared to accept a detachment of soldiers at an army base in the northeast of the country, around 110km (69 miles) from the frontier with Russia.

"Estonia has everything ready in case a NATO rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops arrives," the top official said. "There is an area in Tapa to receive allies, where equipment and weapons can be stored and distributed to units so that forces can move from there."

Comment: Russia wouldn't be too happy about that, and that's kind of the point: the West and its vassals are pulling out all the stops to try to trick or force Russia into responding in such a way that Russia can then be blamed for any fall out.

However, the deployments have not yet happened, and one wonders what the citizens of these Baltic states think of their leaders endangering their safety and risking their livelihoods, all to appease the addled establishment in the West? Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Kazakhstan on Fire: Why US vs Russia 'Great Game' Could Spark Global Economic Collapse




Bullseye

Reality bites: Biden's Jim Crow 2.0 tour collides with the fact that Blacks strongly support voter ID

biden voting rights  mlk speech
© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Biden wags his finger at those who believe voter ID is not racist
With drama and fury, President Joe Biden declared to the nation on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that state laws requiring voter ID or banning mass mailing of absentee ballots amounted to an "assault on our freedom to vote," especially for minority Americans.

Four days earlier, a poll in Michigan told a different story: Three-quarters of the battleground state voters supported ballot ID requirements, with black voters expressing the highest support at 79%.

Those findings have been confirmed in national polls as well, exposing a dilemma for Democrats in Washington who are making a last-ditch effort to pass legislation gutting many state and local controls of elections in favor of federal standards.

Those standards — like banning voter IDs, imposing no excuse absentee voting and making it harder to clean outdated voter rolls — are not what the majority of Americans are seeking.

Comment: Hopefully the sane voices in the black community will begin to drown out the elitists they decry. Rasmussan is not the first firm to get the same result. Candace Owens points out the obvious: Conservative activist Candace Owens: 'Voter ID racist, but vaccine ID not a problem?'


Eye 1

UK's "draconian" protest bill defeated at House of Lords - for now

UK protest bill
© Getty
The bill has sparked nationwide 'kill the bill' protests
The government will have to draw up a new bill to bring in "draconian" protest laws backed by Priti Patel, following a series of humiliating defeats in the House of Lords.

Peers stripped some of the most controversial clauses out of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill after the government attempted to add them at a late stage of scrutiny.


Comment: A rather sinister, albeit increasingly common, tactic by those in power trying to drag democracies towards the dystopian agenda.


Defeated plans to give police the power to stop and search peaceful protesters without suspicion, make "looking on" an offence and create protest banning orders that had not been debated by MPs.

Comment: As we saw in France in April 2021 with their equally alarming 'Global Security Bill, another draconian bill will be written up and rammed through Parliament soon enough, and then the establishment have not only made it legal for themselves to commit any and all crimes, but they can then 'legally' target citizens that they consider to be 'interfering' with their nefarious schemes.

And, just in time, too, because the pushback against the governments fearmongering, lies, coercion, and the destruction of people's lives, is growing: HUGE protests erupt across Europe against Covid vaccine mandates & lockdowns

For a clearer overview of just what those in Parliament tried to slip past democratic debate, see: UK govt stuffs "stunningly draconian" anti-protest powers into new 'policing' bill, rushes it through parliament

Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Collapsing Narratives: Medical Misinformation Now Indistinguishable From The Science!




Snakes in Suits

The Othering of Unvaccinated Persons by The Political Class

Trudeau
In my teaching, I prepare undergraduate students to become high school history teachers. In one course, teacher candidates prepare and deliver mock lessons. Their peers play the role of high school students, and I observe and give feedback following these practice lessons. Whether coincidence or a reflection of the times, this fall a good number of mock lessons covered the rise of totalitarianism. In one excellent lesson, a teacher candidate had his students examine the contexts that gave rise to totalitarianism. He accompanied this lesson with an excerpt from a world history textbook listing characteristics of totalitarianism.

This lesson hit on the true purpose for including totalitarianism in high school curricula. That purpose is not to honor the likes of Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini. Nor is that purpose to provide the methods of totalitarianism as an instructional manual to follow. Rather, the purpose of teaching on totalitarianism is to deliver a warning: heed well the conditions that yielded totalitarianism, so you can recognize and avoid them. As I observed this teacher candidate's lesson, I could not help but think about that purpose in the context of our present time.

One passage from the lesson's textbook concerned me the most: "Totalitarian leaders often create 'enemies of the state' to blame for things that go wrong. Frequently these enemies are members of religious or ethnic groups. Often these groups are easily identified and are subjected to campaigns of terror and violence. They may be forced to live in certain areas or are subjected to rules that apply only to them" (pg. 876).

Snakes in Suits

Echoes of McCain in Maidan: Large group of senators travel to Kiev in "message" to Russia

Senators Travel To Kiev
In a move that echoes and recalls scenes of the late John McCain visiting the Maidan protests over a half-decade ago which eventually overthrew the prior elected Russia-friendly Ukrainian government, a large group of senators traveled to Kiev this week in order to show support and solidarity with Ukraine's leaders amid the ongoing showdown with Russia, which has amassed troops near the border.

"A bipartisan group of senators is traveling to Ukraine this week to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials amid escalating tensions between Kyiv and Moscow," The Hill confirms Monday. "Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced the trip on Monday. They said they are traveling to Ukraine and holding discussions "to reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to Ukraine, which continues to face an increasingly belligerent Russia."


Comment: The mindless US political/managerial class has been - and continues to - execute a full court press of propaganda, belligerence and provocation towards Russia. Thankfully, Russia has maintained a steadfast determination to not be bullied, and continues to fight for its sovereignty and for a future that isn't subjected and oppressed by Western diktats. The Eastern nation stands as stark example of what true and lawful statehood and geopolitical strength looks like.


Eye 2

UK sends 'defensive weapons and small number of British troops' to Ukraine whilst also inviting Russia for diplomatic talks

Ukrainian marine
© AP / Andriy Dubchak
FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian marine at a fighting position on the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels, Donetsk region, Ukraine, January 7, 2022.
"We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapon systems," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told lawmakers on Monday, adding initial shipments had already arrived in the country hours prior.

Despite the growing enmity, Wallace said he invited his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, to meet in London sometime in the coming weeks to work through the issue, adding "the current gap is wide but not unbridgeable," and that he remains "hopeful that diplomacy will prevail."


Comment: That's the UK's idea of diplomacy...


While the official did not provide details about the number or type of arms sent, he said they are "not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia," and are to be used by Ukrainian forces "in self-defence" only. A "small number" of British troops will also train local soldiers on how to use the new gear.

Comment: See also:

Russia orders snap inspection of troops' readiness for rapid deployment

And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Kazakhstan on Fire: Why US vs Russia 'Great Game' Could Spark Global Economic Collapse




Newspaper

Saudi-led Arab coalition resumes airstrikes on Yemen following Houthi drone attack on UAE airports & oil depot

Abu Dhabi airport

A fire broke out at an extension of Abu Dhabi airport, police said
At least three people were killed and six others were wounded after three oil tankers exploded in Abu Dhabi. Drones are believed to have caused the blast. Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility.

A fire broke out at an extension of Abu Dhabi airport, police said

Drones sparked an explosion on three oil tankers in Abu Dhabi and may have caused a separate fire at an extension of Abu Dhabi Airport, police said on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) state-run news agency said that the suspected drone attacks killed three people and injured an additional six.

Comment: Sputnik reports on the Saudi-led retaliation:
Arab Coalition Announces Start of Strikes on Sanaa After Houthi Attack on UAE - Reports"The coalition air force is conducting a round-the-clock operation in the skies over Sanaa," the statement says. "We urge civilians to stay away from military camps and Houthi gatherings for their safety."

F-15 aircraft attacks were said to have destroyed "two ballistic missile launchers that were used on Monday to strike the territory of the UAE."Al-Masirah, a Yemeni TV channel owned by the Houthi rebels, reported that four people were killed and five were injured as a result of the coalition attacks.

The Houthi movement confirmed it had carried out strikes with mined drones on airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, threatening new attacks on strategically important objects in the UAE. According to spokesman of the Yemeni Armed Forces Yahya Sare'e, five ballistic missiles and a large number of drones were used to perform the attack.

Shortly after the attack, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reinstate the Houthis' status as a terrorist organization, Axios reported. President Biden, who removed the movement from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) list last year, has argued that the designation hinders the delivery of humanitarian assistance for Yemen, as the country is hit by the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government forces, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the Houthi rebels for over six years. The situation was further aggravated after the Saudi-led coalition, working in cooperation with Hadi's forces, joined the conflict in 2015 and began conducting occasional air, land and sea operations against the Houthis.
See also: Pepe Escobar: String of pearls: Yemen could be the Arab hub of the Maritime Silk Road