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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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Puppet Masters


Smoking gun? Letter from Michael Cohen claiming Donald Trump did NOT reimburse him for hush money paid to Stormy Daniels flies in face of the star witness's grand jury testimony

michael cohen

Michael Cohen is seen on Wednesday after it was learned the grand jury meeting on Donald Trump's pending indictment was cancelled.
Michael Cohen claimed he was not reimbursed by Donald Trump or his organization for hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels in a 2018 letter to federal authorities, contradicting his recent grand jury testimony,

The bombshell document, exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com, could throw a wrench in the works of prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against Trump over the payments.

Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and the star witness in the case over which Trump reportedly faces imminent arrest, claims that Trump got him to pay $130,000 to Daniels to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with the real estate mogul, just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Comment: See also:


In Moscow, Xi And Putin Bury Pax Americana

In Moscow this week, the Chinese and Russian leaders revealed their joint commitment to redesign the global order, an undertaking that has 'not been seen in 100 years.'

Xi and Putin
© The Cradle
What has just taken place in Moscow is nothing less than a new Yalta, which, incidentally, is in Crimea. But unlike the momentous meeting of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in USSR-run Crimea in 1945, this is the first time in arguably five centuries that no political leader from the west is setting the global agenda.

It's Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that are now running the multilateral, multipolar show. Western exceptionalists may deploy their crybaby routines as much as they want: nothing will change the spectacular optics, and the underlying substance of this developing world order, especially for the Global South.

What Xi and Putin are setting out to do was explained in detail before their summit, in two Op-Eds penned by the presidents themselves. Like a highly-synchronized Russian ballet, Putin's vision was laid out in the People's Daily in China, focusing on a "future-bound partnership," while Xi's was published in the Russian Gazette and the RIA Novosti website, focusing on a new chapter in cooperation and common development.

Right from the start of the summit, the speeches by both Xi and Putin drove the NATO crowd into a hysterical frenzy of anger and envy: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova perfectly captured the mood when she remarked that the west was "foaming at the mouth."

The front page of the Russian Gazette on Monday was iconic: Putin touring Nazi-free Mariupol, chatting with residents, side by side with Xi's Op-Ed. That was, in a nutshell, Moscow's terse response to Washington's MQ-9 Reaper stunt and the International Criminal Court (ICC) kangaroo court shenanigans. "Foam at the mouth" as much as you like; NATO is in the process of being thoroughly humiliated in Ukraine.

During their first "informal" meeting, Xi and Putin talked for no less than four and a half hours. At the end, Putin personally escorted Xi to his limo. This conversation was the real deal: mapping out the lineaments of multipolarity - which starts with a solution for Ukraine.

Predictably, there were very few leaks from the sherpas, but there was quite a significant one on their "in-depth exchange" on Ukraine. Putin politely stressed he respects China's position - expressed in Beijing's 12-point conflict resolution plan, which has been completely rejected by Washington. But the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground.

In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.


US won't even let Ukraine consider peace talks - Moscow

© www.usnews
FILE PHOTO: With the "masks off," the collective West is now eagerly showing its "bestial grin," Dmitry Peskov says
Ukraine's Western backers - and the US in particular - are doing their best to prevent Kiev from entering into any negotiations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. The official made the remarks on the sidelines of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Moscow on Tuesday.

Peskov was asked to comment on recent statements by senior Western officials, who said any peace initiative for Ukraine, should it arise from the Russia-China talks, would be "unacceptable." US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, for example, claimed any ceasefire in the current situation would only "ratify Russia's conquest to date" rather than contribute to peace.

Comment: See also:


Mexican president brands Americans as 'liars' after being accused of human rights abuses, says US must respond to Nord Stream allegations

© AP/Marco Ugarte
FILE PHOTO: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Washington believes it's the "government of the world," Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has claimed.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has bristled over his government being accused by the US State Department of human rights abuses, and dismissed his country's neighbors to the north as "liars."

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday in Oaxaca, Mexico, Lopez Obrador responded angrily to Monday's State Department report on human rights. US President Joe Biden's administration claimed there were credible reports of unlawful killings by Mexican authorities, as well as forced disappearances, torture and otherwise inhumane treatment of civilians. The US also chided Mexico for corruption, rampant crime and low rates of offenses being prosecuted.

Asked by a reporter about the accusations, Lopez Obrador said, "It's not true. They're liars." He added, "It's not worth getting angry about."

Mr. Potato

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida makes surprise visit to Ukraine to meet Zelensky

Fumio Kishida
© Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (center) pictured outside a church in Bucha, Ukraine, on March 21.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made a surprise trip to Ukraine to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - a day after Chinese leader Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Kishida arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday afternoon local time, and also traveled to Bucha, the town just north of the Ukrainian capital that has become synonymous with Russian atrocities and alleged war crimes.

Comment: If there was a Russian massacre at Bucha, why did the UK block an investigation into what happened there? Meanwhile: UN investigators say no evidence of genocide within Ukraine - yet

Emine Dzheppa, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said the country "is happy to welcome" the Japanese premier.

Comment: For more on Xi and Putin's, which was much more significant than the performance in Kiev, see: Putin, Xi talks at the Kremlin cover Ukraine peace roadmap proposal, boosting Russian-Chinese cooperation

See also: The Assassination of Archduke Shinzo Abe


Game changer: How China's Iran-Saudi deal transforms geopolitics

© motioncenter/Shutterstock
'Meeting in the middle'
Just a year ago, the US was in the ascendant when it came to Middle East politics, working to isolate Iran by helping to normalize relationships between Israel and the Mideast Gulf states. The reality just changed — literally overnight — after China successfully brokered a reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran which, if consummated, will radically transform regional and global geopolitics.

When Wang Yi, China's most senior diplomat, stepped out in front of the cameras in Beijing, China, on Mar. 10, accompanied by Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, and Saudi National Security Adviser Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban, the world changed forever. On the surface, the deal that China mediated — with Iran and Saudi Arabia agreeing to resume formal diplomatic ties and affirming their respect for "the noninterference in internal affairs of states" — was a remarkable enough diplomatic accomplishment. In practical terms, this simply reset the clock to pre-2016, when the two nations severed relations in the aftermath of the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, which in turn prompted attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran. But the agreement to resume diplomatic relations was accompanied by a series of other commitments by the two nations to respect each other's sovereignty, and to engage in economic, cultural and sports cooperation. The timeline for implementation is two months from the date of the agreement.


UK's depleted uranium plan threatens all of Europe - Moscow

© Sputnik/Vladimir Fedorenko
Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin
The Ukraine conflict could descend into a fight "to the last European," a top Russian lawmaker has warned...

The British decision to supply depleted uranium munitions to Kiev is part of a dangerous trend that makes the Ukraine conflict a threat to the whole of Europe, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has warned.

"The war to the last Ukrainian could become a war to the last European," the politician said in a social media post. Numerous Russian officials have claimed that Kiev's Western backers are prepared to sacrifice every Ukrainian for their geopolitical interests.

Volodin argued that Kiev's acquisition of depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come, could become a stepping stone to even more dangerous weapons. "The next step could be the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime or the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon."

President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the British decision earlier this week, warning that Russia "will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component."

Comment: Just like the denials in blowing up the pipeline, the factions of the West will deny supplying Ukraine with nuclear weapons.

Better Earth

Global banking turbulence prompts Wall Street banks to trim hawkish Fed bets

facade Fed Reserve
© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Goldman Sachs is expecting a pause this week from the U.S. Federal Reserve after a year-long rate increase campaign as Wall Street banks scale back their hawkish expectations in the aftermath of the ongoing global banking turmoil.

Bets of a 50 basis points rate hike at the start of the month following evidence of sticky inflation in a tight labor market and hawkish rhetoric from Fed Chair Jerome Powell have been dramatically altered by the collapse of two mid-sized U.S. banks and troubles at Credit Suisse.

A Swiss-backed takeover of Credit Suisse by peer UBS has helped calm some contagion fears but broader ramifications of the deal are yet to be seen. Across the Atlantic, U.S. regulators and the Fed set up lending programs and brokered deals to support regional banks.

A Swiss-backed takeover of Credit Suisse by peer UBS has helped calm some contagion fears but broader ramifications of the deal are yet to be seen. Across the Atlantic, U.S. regulators and the Fed set up lending programs and brokered deals to support regional banks.

Comment: Takeaway: It's all a guessing game. As the global financial mosaic breaks apart, ramifications are incalculable.


Bill Gates says the world must create 'a fire department for pandemics' to avoid the next catastrophic outbreak

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Bill Gates
Bill Gates says the world must prepare for the next pandemic as it would respond to any other emergency.

Gates wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Sunday:
"We need a fire department for pandemics. The world hasn't done as much to get ready for the next pandemic as I'd hoped. But it's not too late to stop history from repeating itself."
Albeit concerned, Gates says he's optimistic about the World Health Organization's announcement of a Global Health Emergency Corps that could "spring into action at a moment's notice when danger emerges." He sees the success of this team as constantly practicing drills for different potential emerging pathogens, being able to implement widespread global testing, preventative sewage testing, and seamless coordination with governments across the world.

Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggests the chance of a pandemic similar to the impact of COVID-19 is 38% in someone's lifetime. The authors note that that percentage could double in years to come.

Comment: Translation: Gates is guaranteeing another plandemic is in the works - only better this time if we all behave.


Asian leader warns Putin warrant could spark nuclear war

Hun Sen
© Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office/TASS/Sipa USA
Cambodia PM Hun Sen
The issuance of an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court (ICC) could lead to nuclear war, as well as creating other implications globally, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned.

The warrant has only sowed further division in the world, potentially jeopardizing diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has been raging for over a year already, the PM believes.
"This ICC warrant to arrest Putin will complicate efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, especially before [Chinese] President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow during which he is expected to mediate for peace.

"Will Putin agree to be arrested without confrontation? If the ICC tries to arrest him, would the Russian authorities be willing to allow this to happen easily?"
The warrant also poses a threat to international efforts in other spheres, namely tackling "global issues such as climate change and diseases," the Cambodian leader said. Moreover, the ICC move has sharply increased the risk of events spiraling into a nuclear exchange in Europe, the PM warned.

Comment: Global movers and shaker nations are not members of the ICC and therefore deny jurisdiction.