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Thu, 15 Apr 2021
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Bernie Madoff, financier behind largest Ponzi scheme in history, dies in prison

Madoff
© Peter Foley/EPA
Bernie Madoff leaves federal court in 2009. Judge Denny Chin called Madoff’s crimes ‘extraordinarily evil’.
Bernard Madoff, the one-time Wall Street titan who orchestrated one of the largest frauds in history, has died in prison aged 82.

Madoff, known as Bernie, was a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, and was regarded for years as an investment sage. But unbeknown to his thousands of victims, he was running a Ponzi scheme that wiped out at least $17.5bn in savings.

Imposing a 150-year sentence in 2009, judge Denny Chin called Madoff's crimes "extraordinarily evil". His criminal behavior devastated the lives of his victims, leading to suicides, bankruptcies and home losses.

Comment: As events like the 2008 financial crash demonstrate those that commit crimes many times more destructive to livelihoods but to the benefit of the establishment, are protected by governments and get public money in the form of bailouts:


Propaganda

The absentee vote logic of the New York Times

Liptak/Qiu/Bokat-Lindell
© Slowking4/Wikimedia/Polifact.com/Linkedin/KJN
Adam Liptak, NYT legal affairs reporter: "So grave are the flaws of absentee voting they raise questions about the most elementary promises of democracy."
Linda Qiu, factchecker: "Mail and absentee ballots are the 'gold standard of election security'. Not alway the Times' view."
Spencer Bokat-Lindell: Times opinion editor: "Efforts to discredit mail voting are aimed at suppressing votes, especially Black and Latino Americans, having cautioned over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting."
By making accusations of vote fraud he was not able to prove, both before and after the election, Donald Trump made it easy for his critics to dismiss as dishonest any and all concerns about election integrity. Typical was a New York Times "fact check" from late September denouncing as "false" GOP claims that expanding access to absentee ballots and voting by mail facilitated election fraud.

Linda Qiu wrote:
"There have been numerous independent studies and government reviews finding voter fraud extremely rare in all forms, that includes 'absentee ballots' and 'vote-by-mail ballots' between which there is 'no meaningful difference. Not only are both 'secure forms of voting, they are considered the 'gold standard of election security.'"
To pass a law limiting the use of absentee ballots, as Georgia recently did, is no longer to choose a side in a legitimate debate over how to balance ballot integrity and ease of voting. Instead, to express concern about the risk of election fraud is seen as being engaged in a different sort of fraud -- an illegitimate effort to disenfranchise the poor and minorities. The New York Times has aggressively insisted the last several months that worries over absentee and mail-in ballots, in particular, are dishonest violations of voting rights.

Russian Flag

Russia is seeking 'pragmatic cooperation' with US, not outright conflict says US national intel director

Avril Haines
© Columbia University
Dir. of US National Intelligence Avril Haines
Relations between Washington and Moscow might have hit historic lows in recent weeks, but President Joe Biden's intelligence chief has now announced that Russia is more interested in working with America than directly against it.

In an unclassified report released on Tuesday by Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, officials were optimistic about their Russian counterparts' intentions to strengthen bilateral ties. "We expect Moscow to seek opportunities for pragmatic cooperation with Washington," the analysis stated.

However, it added that the Kremlin would insist on forming any partnerships "on its own terms." Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has previously claimed the US is eager to deal with the country "from a position of power," and that Moscow would refuse to engage on such a basis.

At the same time, Washington's intelligence community said that "we assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with US forces," but warned its former Cold War rival "is pushing back against Washington where it can globally, employing techniques up to and including the use of force."

Over the course of 2021, the report claimed, Moscow will employ a series of tactics
"meant to undermine US influence [and] develop new international norms and partnerships and aims to divide Western countries and weaken Western alliances, and demonstrate Russia's ability to shape global events as a major player in a new multipolar international order."
Despite that, the analysis concluded that the Kremlin wants to work towards a state of "mutual noninterference in both countries' domestic affairs," provided the US acknowledges and respects Russia's "claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union."

Star of David

'Unknown resistance forces' attack Iraq office of Israel's Mossad spy agency

Mossad emblem
© unknown/KJN
Israel's Mossad has long operated in nearby Iraq, including in a 1966 operation to steal a Soviet-built MiG-21 fighter jet for the United States and a plot in the 1970s to assassinate Iraqi nationalist leader Saddam Hussein with a bomb hidden inside a book.

According to unconfirmed reports, a safe house used by the Mossad, Israel's spy agency, has been attacked in northern Iraq.

"'Unknown resistance forces' target Mossad safe house in Northern Iraq," Sabereen News Telegram reported Wednesday morning, adding that several "Israeli spies were killed" and promising to soon share photos of the operation. The report did not say the city where the safe house was located, and only identified its source as an announcement from "a security source."

According to Iran Press News Agency, Sabereen is an outlet connected to Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (Movement of the Party of God's Nobles), a Shiite militia in Iraq. Iran's PressTV noted that no other news sources in northern Iraq have reported on the attack so far.

Stock Up

Get ready to rumble with big business

NYSExchange
© Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
New York Stock Exchange
Serious question: Who died and made these woke corporations ruler of all, the veritable masters of the universe? Who made them the arbiters of right and wrong? Since when do they get to decide what is an acceptable form of free speech or what election laws should or should not get passed in this country? If you're not half asleep, perhaps you've noticed this dynamic: we are rapidly shifting into a government of, by and for the corporations, with our Constitution being secondary to the corporations' arbitrary, woke one.

Corporations, many of which no longer consider themselves American companies but more global ones, composed of "citizens of the world," have decided to enforce their view of the world onto almost every subject. They don't consider the damage their decision-making does to Main Street, only how much they can line their own pockets — even if they have to use foreign slave labor to do it.

Now they arrogantly lecture us as though they were paragons of moral uprightness. More than 100 corporate leaders met over this past weekend, from companies such as United Airlines, American Airlines, AMC Theaters, Levi Strauss, and others to discuss their collective opposition to voter integrity laws.

One reason we have seen so much more of this woke behavior over the last few years is that we are seeing more and more of the indoctrinated youth coming of age after their "educations" in indoctrination centers of higher learning. We can see that influence as they enter the workforce, deciding the rest of the world must be compelled to fit their weird and warped views — ergo the explosion of woke corporatism.

Arrow Down

McConnell seeks to end feud with Trump

McConnell
© Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Shutterstock
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is seeking to end his running feud with President Trump, which escalated this weekend when the former president insulted him as a "dumb son of a bitch" and a "stone-cold loser" for not backing his false claims about the election.

Trump's comments were especially stinging as they were widely publicized and came one day after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), gave Trump a "Champion of Freedom Award" at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Trump lashed out at McConnell the following Saturday evening at a Republican donor event, where he blamed him for Republicans losing the White House.

"If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it," Trump said, referring to newly minted Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the election results.

McConnell on Tuesday wanted no part in the food fight with Trump and said he's more focused on trying to unify the Republican Party to oppose what he calls President Biden's "far-left" agenda. McConnell told reporters:
"What I'm concentrating on is the future and what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration, with a slight majority in the House, a 50-50 Senate trying to transform America into something no one voted for last year. That's what I'm concentrating on."

Comment: Trump's claims about the election were far from 'false'.

See also: Trump rips McConnell in speech to Republicans


Bizarro Earth

The Saker: Biden calls the "killer"

PutinBiden
© Mark Makela Sputnik/Alexey Druzhinin/KJN
Russian President Putin • US President Biden
The big news of the day is that Biden decided to call Putin. Here is how the Russians reported this:
At the initiative of the American side, a telephone conversation took place between President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the United States of America Joseph Biden. The current state of Russian-American relations and some relevant aspects of the international agenda were discussed in detail. Joseph Biden confirmed his earlier invitation to the Russian President to take part in the Climate Summit, which will be held via videoconference on April 22-23. Both sides expressed their readiness to continue the dialogue on the most important areas of ensuring global security, which would meet the interests of not only Russia and the United States, but also the entire world community. Moreover, Joseph Biden expressed interest in normalizing the state of affairs on the bilateral track and establishing stable and predictable cooperation on such pressing issues as ensuring strategic stability and arms control, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Afghanistan, and global climate change. In this context, the US President proposed to consider the possibility of holding a personal summit meeting in the foreseeable future. During the exchange of views on the internal Ukrainian crisis, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures. It was agreed to give instructions to the relevant departments to work out the issues raised during the telephone conversation.

Comment: See also:


Bad Guys

Biden delays withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan until September 11th

US afghanistan
© REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018.
President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America's longest war, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.


Comment: By choosing this date the Biden administration appears to be more concerned with arousing highly charged emotions in Americans rather than leaving Afghanistan as soon as possible.

However, what with the US' subsequent war on Iraq, Libya, Syria, and its assistance to the Saudi's with their war on Yemen, it is blatantly clear by now that 9/11 merely served as the pretext for America's war on, and occupation of, the Middle East.


The disclosure of the plan came on the same day that the U.S. intelligence community released a gloomy outlook for Afghanistan, forecasting "low" chances of a peace deal this year and warning that its government would struggle to hold the Taliban insurgency at bay if the U.S.-led coalition withdraws support.

Comment: RT reports that NATO troops intend to leave as soon at the same time as the US - if it ever does, of course:
'Go in together, go out together' - German defense minister says
german soliders
© Michael Kappeler / Pool via Reuters
FILE PHOTO: German Bundeswehr soldiers in Masar-i-Scharif, Afghanistan.
Berlin has the second-largest military presence there after the US.

"We always said we go in together, we go out together," she told the broadcaster ARD in a morning interview. "I stand for an orderly withdrawal. And that's why I assume that we will decide this today."

The total strength of NATO's Resolute Support Mission is around 10,000.
Coincidentally, or not, the UN is 'sounding the alarm' over a spike 30% spike in civilian casualites
Almost 1,800 civilians, including many women and children, were killed or wounded in the fighting between the Afghan government and the Taliban since the start of 2021, the UN said, again calling on the sides to stop the violence.

In the first three months of the year, 573 civilians were killed and 1,210 injured in Afghanistan, which is a 29% increase compared to the same period in 2020, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report on Wednesday.

A source of "particular concern" was that the number of killed or wounded women rose by 37%, while child casualties increased by 23%, according to the report.

The civilians became victims of "ground engagements; improvised explosive devices; and targeted killings," UNAMA said.
Afghanistan
© Reuters / Mohammad Ismail
FILE PHOTO: Afghan officials inspect a damaged minibus after a blast in Kabul.
Insurgent groups have caused 61% percent of the casualties among the population, with the most harm delivered by Taliban (43.5%). Afghan National Army and other pro-government units were reportedly responsible for killing and wounding 27 percent of civilians so far this year.

"Every possible opportunity for peace must be seized. If levels of violence are not immediately reduced, thousands of Afghan civilians will continue to be killed and injured by fellow Afghans in 2021," Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, warned.


Note that the US' lengthy and costly stay in Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of a great many civilians.


With no breakthrough in peace talks between the authorities in Kabul and the Taliban, deadly fighting has recently escalated in several Afghan regions.
Sputnik reports that, in response to the US unilateral decision to stay in the country for an extra 5 months, the Taliban have announced that they will not enter into any peace talks until all foreign forces are out of the country:
"Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan," Dr. Muhammad Naeem Wardak, the spokesperson for the Taliban's political office in Doha, Qatar, said on Twitter early Wednesday morning.

taliban
© REUTERS / POOL
Biden's new date is symbolic: al-Qaeda's training grounds and headquarters for the attack were in the Afghan mountains, and the US occupation war in Afghanistan began just weeks later, when it invaded to overthrow the Taliban government that had sheltered the terrorist group. The war has waged ever since, with deaths totaling in the hundreds of thousands, nearly all of them Afghan.
Also on Tuesday, the United Nations announced an Afghan peace conference had been scheduled from April 24 to May in Istanbul, Turkey, at which delegations from the Taliban and the US-supported Afghan government in Kabul are expected to sit for their own peace talks, which have been ongoing for months. However, a spokesperson for the Taliban's political bureau told Sputnik on Tuesday the group's attendance was in doubt.
Last month, US and European officials revealed to the New York Times that there were at least 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than previously reported, putting the total at the time at roughly 3,500 troops. In addition, there are roughly 7,000 troops from NATO allies and US partners in Afghanistan, which the Taliban has said would be considered legitimate targets for attack if the US hasn't totally left by its May 1 deadline.
Biden has previously spoken dismissively of the February 2020 peace deal, saying in an interview last month it was "not a very solidly negotiated deal" agreed to by then-US President Donald Trump.
"We're in consultation with our allies as well as the government, and that decision is in process now," he said about meeting the May 1 withdrawal date, which he admitted would be "tough" to meet. US military leaders have pushed back on the pace of the withdrawal, warning the Taliban could return to power or al-Qaeda could rebuild itself if a certain amount of US forces are not stationed in the Central Asian nation.
See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Control Panel

World Economic Forum warns of cyber attack leading to systemic collapse of the global financial system

WEF Great Reset
A report published last year by the WEF-Carnegie Cyber Policy Initiative calls for the merging of Wall Street banks, their regulators and intelligence agencies as necessary to confront an allegedly imminent cyber attack that will collapse the existing financial system.

In November 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace co-produced a report that warned that the global financial system was increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Advisors to the group that produced the report included representatives from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, Wall Street giants likes JP Morgan Chase and Silicon Valley behemoths like Amazon.

The ominous report was published just months after the World Economic Forum had conducted a simulation of that very event - a cyber attack that brings the global financial system to its knees - in partnership with Russia's largest bank, which is due to jumpstart that country's economic "digital transformation" with the launch of its own central bank-backed cryptocurrency.

More recently, last Tuesday, the largest information sharing organization of the financial industry, whose known members include Bank of America, Wells Fargo and CitiGroup, have again warned that nation-state hackers and cybercriminals were poised to work together to attack the global financial system in the short term. The CEO of this organization, known as the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), had previously advised the WEF-Carnegie report that had warned much the same.

Gold Seal

Sweden Says No To Gates Mad Global Warming Scheme

lava flow
For more than a decade Bill Gates has funneled millions of dollars into a scientifically mad scheme allegedly to study the possibility of "manmade global cooling." The project, led by a Harvard physicist, proposes to send satellites into the atmosphere in order to drop tons of chemicals in an attempt to block the sun. Now a strong resistance within Sweden has forced Gates & co. to abandon the planned Swedish satellite launch. This latest adventure in geoengineering by Gates shows what an unscientific enterprise the global warming charade is. As Gates no doubt well knows, in fact the Earth has slowly been cooling as we enter what some astrophysicists estimate could be several decades of global cooling caused by a Grand Solar Minimum cycle we entered in 2020.

On April 2 the Swedish Space Agency, announced that the program, the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx), funded by Bill Gates, has "divided the scientific community" and will therefore not be carried out. SCoPEx was a scheme funded for several years by personal funds from Gates to test the feasibility of dimming the sun via manmade geoengineering.

The plan is to drop sulphate aerosolor calcium carbonate dust into the atmosphere from high altitude balloons in a madcap scheme to try blocking the sun and thereby "prevent " global warming. The Swedish agency decided to cancel the experiment because of a major opposition from not only the scientific and environmentalist community, but also indigenous Swedish Saame or Laplander people who are reindeer herdsmen and feared the particles could cause severe or unknown environmental pollution to their herds. Notably, the Saami Council warned that the Gates experiment "essentially attempts to mimic volcanic eruptions by continuously spewing the sky with sun-dimming particles."