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Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson push Secret Service for answers on Hunter Biden gun incident

Grassley/gun barrel/Johnson
© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images/Stockphoto/Blog for Arizona/KJN
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) • Gun Barrel • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)
Two top Republicans continued to push the Secret Service for answers on any involvement it may have had related to an incident in which Hunter Biden's gun briefly went missing after being thrown in the trash in Delaware after the federal agency said it had no record of its agents being involved.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who released a report last year detailing Biden's shady business dealings, have been pressing for answers from the Secret Service following reports that agents may have attempted to intervene on Biden's behalf in 2018 when they no longer protected now-President Joe Biden or his family. Grassley and Johnson said in their new letter:
"We received the U.S. Secret Service's March 31, 2021, response to our March 25, 2021, letter regarding reports that Secret Service agents were involved in an October 2018 incident regarding Hunter Biden's discarded firearm when he was no longer a protectee. Although Secret Service could not locate any records about the alleged October 2018 incident, questions still remain regarding whether any individuals connected to the Secret Service were aware of or took any action relating to this matter. It would seem particularly unusual and inappropriate if any individuals connected with the Secret Service were involved in light of your office's acknowledgement that" it hadn't found any relevant records.

Comment: If there was favoritism in operation, by Secret Service agents no longer assigned to Hunter Biden, who authorized it and why?


Boat

Iranian ship thought to be used as military base attacked, says Tehran

MV Saviz
© Planet Labs Inc./AP
The MV Saviz in the Red Sea
The Iranian foreign ministry has confirmed that an Iranian cargo ship believed to be covertly deployed for military use off the coast of Yemen has been attacked, in an incident that threatens to inflame a proxy war between Iran and Israel.

Officials in Tehran said on Wednesday that the MV Saviz had been targeted in the Red Sea, a day after media reports said the ship had been damaged by limpet mines. Images broadcast by Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency showed parts of the ship on fire. Tasnim said an explosion had targeted the hull.

In a state TV report, an anchor cited a New York Times story, which quoted an anonymous US official telling the newspaper that Israel had informed the US it attacked the vessel on Tuesday morning. The strike on the vessel came as Iran and world powers sat down in Vienna for a first round of talks about the US potentially rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal. Israel is bitterly opposed to a return to the agreement.

Asked by reporters on Wednesday if Israel, Iran's arch foe, was involved in the attack, the country's defence minister, Benny Gantz, twice refused to comment on it specifically. However, he added: "The state of Israel must defend itself. Every place we find an operational challenge or operational need, we will continue to act."
Red Sea map MV Saviz
© Nestia
Red Sea location of MV Saviz

Comment: Israel may not be able to stop the reinstatement of the 2015 nuclear deal, but it is certainly capable of sabotaging Iran's assets any time it chooses.


Passport

White House rules out involvement in 'vaccine passports'

Covid passport sign
© Unknown
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday ruled out the Biden administration playing any role in a "vaccine passport" system as Republican governors in particular balk at the concept. Psaki told reporters at a briefing:
"The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.

"Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is American's privacy and rights should be protected so that these systems are not used against people unfairly."
The White House has been clear that it would defer to private companies if they wanted to implement some type of vaccine passport system in which individuals would have to provide proof that they received one of the coronavirus shots.

The federal government will provide guidance about privacy related to the coronavirus vaccines, Psaki said, though she did not provide a timeline.

Comment: The WH could have put an end to this controversial and divisive protocol plan that negates citizen rights. Instead, it left open an avenue for businesses and venues to require proof of vaccination. Meanwhile, a multi-state boycott against Covid passports is currently gaining steam, as constitutional guarantees demand.
See also:


Target

Former Trump aide Stephen Miller launches group targeting Biden's policies

Stephen Miller
© Patrick Semansky/AP
Trump administration's senior aide Stephen Miller
Former President Donald Trump's senior aide Stephen Miller has launched a new organization that aims to challenge the Biden administration's policies in courtsand is being billed as a conservative American Civil Liberties Union.

Miller, the architect of the Trump White House's immigration policies, launched America First Legal this week, which will work with Republican attorneys general around the country to push back against President Biden's rollback of Trump's policies.

Trump put out a statement Wednesday promoting the project, and urging his supporters to get behind it:
"Stephen Miller is a fearless, principled fighter for the America First movement. He has backbone, integrity, and never gives up. As we know, the Radical Left has been relentless in waging their battles in court. Conservatives and America First supporters badly need to catch up and turn the tables, which is why I applaud Stephen and Mark Meadows for rushing to fill this critical void. The era of unilateral legal surrender must end — and I hope all America First patriots will get behind America First Legal."
Jason Miller, Trump's senior adviser, tweeted about the organization Wednesday morning and linked to a report in the Wall Street Journal about it.

The report said Stephen Miller would enlist lawyers from the Trump administration, GOP attorneys general and other attorneys around the country to help them in their cases against Biden. "Anything the president does that we believe to be illegal is fair game," Stephen Miller told the newspaper.

Magnet

Unfortunate: Tanzania's new leader signals U-turn on Coronavirus policy

Samia Suluhu Hassan
© Luke Dray/Getty Images
Samia Suluhu Hassan
Tanzania's new president announced plans to appoint a panel of experts to advise her on how best to curb the spread of the coronavirus, reversing her predecessor's denialism of the pandemic.

"We cannot isolate ourself as an island," President Samia Suluhu Hassan told senior government officials in an address televised on state broadcaster TBC1. "We cannot accept everything from abroad, but we also cannot reject everything."

Hassan's predecessor John Magufuli, who died last month, eschewed the use of face masks and advised his countrymen to resort to prayer, steam baths and traditional remedies to safeguard their health. His administration said it wouldn't buy vaccines and stopped publishing Covid-19 infection data in May last year, making it impossible to gauge the severity of the disease.

However, a deluge of patients displaying coronavirus symptoms seeking treatment at public hospitals and daily funeral masses indicated that Magufuli downplayed the severity of the disease. The World Health Organization joined international calls for the nation to change course.


Comment: One would be correct in wondering if Magufuli knew those numbers would be skewed to make the virus out to be much more than it is (as has been done in the West) - and therefore made the right call.


Comment: The new president of Tanzania should read the parable about the camel and the tent - because now that the neoliberal medical tyranny has been allowed a foot in the door, they won't stop trying to implement their policies until they have gone full bore. See also:


Attention

Key Putin aide Kozak issues warning: If Zelensky launches a full-scale war in Donbass, Russia will intervene & it will mean the 'end of Ukraine'

donbass zelenskiy
© RIA; Reuters / Sergey Dolzhenko
A house on Stratonautov Street in the village of Veseloye, Donetsk region, which was damaged during the fighting in the DPR. (inset) Ukrainian President Zelenskiy
Russia will be forced to protect the residents of Donbass if Ukraine launches full-scale hostilities against the region. That's according to Dmitry Kozak, President Vladimir Putin's deputy chief of staff, who is himself Ukrainian.

Speaking on Thursday, Kozak claimed that a ramping-up of the conflict would lead to the end of Ukraine, with the Kremlin forced to stand up for its citizens living in the territory of Donbass. In recent years, Moscow has made it much simpler for those living in Ukraine to get a Russian passport, and many have taken up the offer.

Comment:


Attention

War, Russophobia and Pipelineistan

Ukrainian serviceman
© AFP
A Ukrainian serviceman walks in a fortified position at the front line with Russia-backed separatists not far away, in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on April 5, 2021.
Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war - with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let's cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war.

On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
© AFP / Sergey Dolzhenko
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint press conference with European Council President in Kiev on March 3, 2021.
The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev's official policy. That's exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of "Russian aggression." Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation.

It was this (italics mine) de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76th Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours.

It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise "unwavering US support for Ukraine's sovereignty." That ties in with Moscow's interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
© AFP / Mandel Ngan
On March 8, 2021, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during observance of International Women’s Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

MIB

Israeli spies arrested in Iran indicate further threats of regime change

Israeli spies in Iran
This Monday, Iran announced the arrest of an "Israeli spy", amongst others working for foreign intelligence agencies, in the country's East Azerbaijan Province, leading to speculation, on what Israel had planned against the Islamic Republic.

According to Iran's media, which quoted an Iranian intelligence minister, the unnamed "Israeli spy" arrested this Monday was operating in East Azerbaijan Province, amongst others in contact with "several foreign intelligence agencies" that were not named. This comes following continuous threats from Israel that assert their willingness to combat "Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon", a claim disputed by all the authoritative organisations on the subject.

Israel has also just unveiled a new "spy aircraft", dubbed the 'Oron', which is allegedly developed to identify targets for attack in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. If true, this indicates Israel is developing its capabilities with the objective of striking Iran or assets belonging to Iran, representing a genuine threat to Iranian national security.

Comment: See also:


Eye 1

If Democrats will cry 'racist' no matter what, Republicans should pass much stronger laws

truist park Atlanta
© Tyler Lahti / Flickr
In March, Georgia Republicans amended their state's election laws in a weak attempt to assuage voters disgusted with their enabling of the 2020 election circus. To punish their political opponents for requiring voter ID and creating an election season of a month long or more Democrats called up their character assassination squads.

Democrats have been throwing every bit of pressure they can at Georgia elected officials to get their way without winning power legitimately through elections. This has included pressure from Democrats' current and last U.S. presidents, Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

Biden called on companies to push his political goals outside of the legitimate political system by boycotting Georgia. He is the first president to openly push private companies to boycott a U.S. state over fully legal political outcomes he dislikes.

Biden also explicitly voiced support for Major League Baseball economically punishing Americans represented by members of his political opposition by withdrawing MLB's All-Star game from Atlanta. MLB quickly complied.

Comment: See also:


Newspaper

Kim says North Korea facing its 'worst-ever situation' due to lockdown and continued US sanctions

North Korea  Kim Jong Un
© (KCNA via KNS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has acknowledged his country was facing the "worst-ever situation" as he addressed thousands of grassroots members of his ruling party during a major political conference in Pyongyang
Experts say Kim is facing perhaps his toughest moment as he approaches a decade in rule, with North Korea's coronavirus lockdown unleashing further shock on an economy devastated by decades of mismanagement and crippling U.S.-led sanctions over his nuclear weapons program.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim made the comments during an opening speech at a meeting of the Workers' Party's cell secretaries on Tuesday.

"Improving the people's living standards ... even in the worst-ever situation in which we have to overcome unprecedentedly numerous challenges depends on the role played by the cells, the grassroots organizations of the party," Kim said.

Comment: See also: Phishing for secrets: Russian cyber experts believe defense industry is being attacked by North Korea