Puppet MastersS


Star of David

U.N. court to hold hearings on legality of the occupation of Palestinian-claimed lands

Peace Palace International Court of Justice  World Court  The Hague
© Patrick Post / APA view of the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, on Jan. 26, 2024.
The United Nations' highest court opens historic hearings Monday into the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Six days of hearings are scheduled at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate, as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza.

Though the case occurs against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, it focuses instead on Israel's open-ended occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Palestinian representatives, who speak first on Monday, will argue that the Israeli occupation is illegal because it has violated three key tenets of international law, the Palestinian legal team told reporters Wednesday.

Putin

Germany suffering 'irreversible' damage without Russian gas - Putin

Vladimir Putin
© Sputnik/Aleksandr RjuminRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with students and employees of industrial enterprises of Chelyabinsk region at the Stankomash industrial park in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The German government's decision to switch from Russian gas to more expensive energy sources is having a negative effect on the country's economy, President Vladimir Putin has said. He added that Western leaders had apparently hoped that Moscow would fold quickly if shunned by the European market, but they miscalculated.

The EU's economic powerhouse had for years benefited from relatively cheap Russian energy, receiving up to 40% of its gas imports from the country. Following the start of Moscow's military operation against Kiev in February 2022, Berlin moved to radically reduce its dependence on Russian energy by importing LNG through European neighbors and boosting pipeline gas flows from Norway and the Netherlands.

Speaking on the economic situation in Germany in an interview with Russian media released on Sunday, Putin said: "Apparently, they were expecting that if they don't take our gas, we will fall apart faster than they face irreversible processes. But irreversible processes are effectively starting to happen."

According to the Russian president, "industries are moving to other countries, including the US, where more favorable conditions have been created, and where energy has proven cheaper." He added that "it's absolutely obvious" that the policies adopted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government are "dealing a colossal blow to the German economy's future."

Putin noted that Russia is not restricting gas exports to Europe - Germany and other nations are making that choice of their own accord.

Comment: With the 13th round of sanctions waiting in the wings, Putin's overall point of the EU hurting itself more than Russia with it's policies seems to have fallen on deaf ears.


Brick Wall

German FM says EU ready to hit Russia with new round of sanctions

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
© Getty Images / Omer Messinger / StringerGerman Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
The EU is set to adopt another round of sanctions on Russia which will affect the supply of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the country, among other things, according to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The package is almost finalized, Baerbock said on Monday, ahead of a meeting with her counterparts in Brussels. EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the bloc's 13th round of sanctions before February 24, the second anniversary of the launch of Russia's military operation against Ukraine.

Hungary is the only EU state yet to approve the proposed restrictions, which would reportedly target 200 individuals and entities, mostly from Russia. According to media reports, citing European diplomats, the EU is planning for the first time to sanction companies in mainland China and in other countries including Türkiye, India, and Serbia, for helping Moscow circumvent sanctions by allegedly supplying it with components that can be repurposed for use in drones and other weapon systems.

China has reacted to reports that its firms could be blacklisted, saying it rejects "illegal sanctions," while vowing to protect the interests of Chinese companies.

Budapest refused to sign off on the new sanctions package during the bloc's ambassadors meeting last week, as it opposes restrictions on the Chinese firms included, media outlets report.

Comment: 13 is a lucky number. Maybe they'll work this time?


Pirates

Judge fines Donald Trump more than $350 million, bars him from running businesses in N.Y. for three years

trump civil trial new york city
© Seth Wenig/Pool/APFormer President Donald Trump, right, sits with his lawyer Chris Kise, left, in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court on Monday, October 2, 2023 in New York.
The state AG's office said that when factoring in pre-judgment interest, the amount exceeds $450 million. Trump said on Friday night that he would appeal.

The judge who presided over a civil business fraud trial against Donald Trump on Friday ordered the former president, his sons, business associates and company to pay more than $350 million in damages and temporarily limited their ability to do business in New York.

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay over $354 million in damages, and barred Trump "from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years," including his namesake company.

Comment: The direction is clear. The Deep State intends to cripple not just Trump's presidential campaign, but his ability to make a living at what he clearly does so well. There may be unintended consequences.

The New York Post reports:
Truckers supporting Donald Trump are warning that their refusal to deliver to the Big Apple could paralyze New York City — as more drivers vow to join the boycott following the bombshell ruling in the former president's civil fraud case.

"It could shut New York City down," said Jennifer Hernandez, a trucker who has joined in the protest against Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron's decision to fine Trump $355 million for inflating his net worth by billions to dupe banks and insurers.

"I'm not trying to hurt the people of New York, that's not what I'm trying to do," Hernandez insisted on NewsNation Monday morning.

"But if New York loses just 10% of the trucks that go in there, their prices are going to skyrocket on everything — from milk to eggs, to any type of goods that the consumer needs.

"When that happens, it's going to cost everyone more money," she warned.

Several other truckers have been posting on social media expressing their support.

One man even suggested the boycott could go on for three years.

"Keep on f — ing around, you're going to find out, New York," he said in a video posted to TikTok.

The boycott seemed to have been started by conservative social media influencer Chicago Ray, who posted a clip Friday saying he had spoken to some of his trucker colleagues who said they would stop making deliveries to the city starting Monday.


He claimed that 95% of truckers support the former president, and said the bosses of freight companies "ain't gonna care if we deny the loads — we'll just go somewhere else."

The truckers say they are protesting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron's decision to fine former President Donald Trump $355 million for inflating the values of his properties. AP

As the video spread on social media, it even gained the attention of the former president.

"Such an honor to have so many Great Patriots on the side of freedom," he posted on his Truth Social network on Sunday.

"Joe Biden's Unfair and Dangerous Weaponization of Law Enforcement is a serious threat to Democracy," Trump argued. "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

The boycott seemed to have been started by conservative social media influencer Chicago Ray. Chicago1Ray/X

Chicago Ray later deleted the video from his X page after it went viral, though he said he still stands with the movement.

"I took that video down from Friday bc it went viral and my Grandson seen it on Tik Tok," he wrote on X.

"I stand with Trump 💯% Truckers for Trump," he added.

"Drivers can make their own decisions based on their families and their careers ... I ain't the leader of any movement," Chicago Ray claimed. "I'm my own man, period."
And the circus continues.


Satellite

Scott Ritter: Mike Turner's folly

Turner
© Tiana Williams/US Air ForceRep. Mike Williams
Rep. Mike Turner's release of raw intelligence about a Russian satellite system has compromised U.S. intelligence including likely its sources and methods.

Earlier this week U.S. Representative Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio who serves as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, took the unprecedented step of making available a raw intelligence report to all members of Congress.

Turner issued a public statement which stated that the intelligence
"contained information concerning a serious national security threat," and requesting that President Biden "declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat."
A day after Turner released his statement, White House national security spokesman John Kirby took to the podium to confirm that U.S. intelligence officials have information that Russia has obtained a capability that would enable them to attack U.S. satellites, but that this capability was not yet operational.
"First this is not an active capability that's been deployed and though Russia's pursuit of this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone's safety. We're not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth."
According to Kirby, the Russian anti-satellite capability is space based and, if deployed, would violate the 1967 international Outer Space Treaty, which both Russia and the United States, along with 128 other nations, are signatories to.

Comment: As self-inflicted US runs aground and out of options, the reverse is increasing for Russia.


Arrow Up

BRICS to see 85% surge in millionaires - report

goldletters
© icestylecg/Getty Images
The number of new millionaires in the BRICS countries will see a surge by 2034, contributing to the biggest increase in wealth across any group of nations, according to a recent report by Henley & Partners.

The BRICS group of emerging economies, which previously comprised Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, underwent a major expansion after Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates joined in January of this year. Saudi Arabia, which has also been officially invited, is also set to become a member.

According to the report, the total investable wealth currently held by individuals in the BRICS countries amounts to $45 trillion, while the number of millionaires is expected to surge by 85% over the next decade. There are currently 1.6 million individuals with investable assets of over $1 million in the group, including 4,716 with more than $100 million and 549 billionaires.

In comparison, the figure for investable assets in the G7, comprising Canada, France, Japan, Italy, the US, UK, and EU, was $110 trillion as of December 2023, according to data provided to CNBC by Andrew Amolis, an analyst at New World Wealth. The number of millionaires is expected to increase by 45% over the next decade.

Comment: Where money is made isn't always where it is spent.


Robot

Big Tech promises to prevent AI election-meddling

deepfakes
© AFPDeep Fakes Putin Video from 2019 manipulated with AI to deceive viewers
Industry leaders pledged to combat uses of artificial intelligence that could "deceive voters"

Twenty major technology companies have vowed to stop misleading AI-generated content from disrupting elections around the globe, with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and Google saying they would work to detect and counter 'deepfakes.'

In a press release published on Friday, Microsoft unveiled the new initiative, stating that 20 Big Tech firms would "help prevent deceptive AI content from interfering with this year's global elections," which will involve some 4 billion people across 40 nations.
"The 'Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections' is a set of commitments to deploy technology countering harmful AI-generated content meant to deceive voters. Signatories pledge to work collaboratively on tools to detect and address online distribution of such AI content, drive educational campaigns, and provide transparency, among other concrete steps."
In addition to Microsoft, the accord also includes social media giants such as X, TikTok and Meta - which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp - as well as industry leaders such as Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, McAfee and OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

Comment: Tech are all on board - suspiciously too convenient?


Alarm Clock

Optimism on Ukraine conflict was 'premature' or 'delusional' - NYT

Zelensky Avdeevka
Zelensky posted a photo in front of the entrance to Avdeevka just a few weeks ago, though many questioned if it wasn't just stagemanaged in a studio. A few weeks later and Avdeevka fell.
Western speculation that Kiev was on the verge of victory has reportedly given way to "despair and hedging."

The mood among Ukraine's Western backers has reportedly turned from sanguine and hopeful to "anxious and unmoored" in the past year, as Russian forces make gains on the battlefield and doubts rise over continued US aid to Kiev.

The turnabout in disposition was apparent as leaders from Ukraine and its benefactors gathered at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, the New York Times reported on Monday. The attendees assessed "confrontations they had not anticipated" when they held the same event in February 2023.

"The dourness of the mood contrasted sharply with just a year ago, when many of the same participants - intelligence chiefs and diplomats, oligarchs and analysts - thought Russia might be on the verge of strategic defeat in Ukraine," the newspaper said. "There was talk of how many months it might take to drive the Russians back to the borders that existed before their invasion on Feb. 24, 2022."


Comment: The trouble of group think where sceptical voices are ignored or drowned out. Many analysts in touch with reality said a year ago, that Ukraine was losing but there was no way in which believing their own lies could grasp that. Many still don't as to admit to having been wrong is just a place they can't go. The price of this delusional thinking will be more hundred of thousands of dead Ukrainians.


Comment: In 2007, President Putin made a speech at the Munich security conference where he warned the West of not responding to reality. That was not what the West wanted to hear and Putin was from then on clearly seen as an adversary. They never invited him back and continued to seriously underestimate him.

Here is the speech:




Biohazard

Russia says Ukraine is using US-made chemical weapons

Igor Kiríllov
Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, head of the Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces
Moscow claims that Washington and Kiev have violated the articles of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Washington and Kiev have violated articles of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as Ukrainian forces have used illegal munitions on the battlefield, Russian Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov has claimed.

The head of Russia's Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces provided several examples of Kiev's alleged use of banned chemical weapons and non-lethal chemical agents that he said were obtained from the US.

Kirillov claimed that Ukraine used drones to drop US-made gas grenades on December 28, 2023 containing "CS" compound - a chemical classified as a riot-control tool that irritates the eyes and upper respiratory tract, and can cause skin burns, respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest when used in high concentrations.

Comment: Russia already noted this in November 2023:


Putin

Ukraine a 'matter of life and death' - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin
© SputnikFILE: Russian President Vladimir Putin. The head of state noted Russia was fundamentally evolving from within, becoming more self-sufficient, autonomous, and self-assured
The conflict is a "tactical" issue for the West, but an existential one for Moscow, the Russian president has argued.

The Ukraine crisis is of existential importance for Russia, President Vladimir Putin told reporter Pavel Zarubin on Sunday, while it is only a tactical issue for NATO.

He explained that the main goal of his deep dive into the country's history during an interview earlier this month with American journalist Tucker Carlson was to give the Western audience a chance to understand Moscow's mindset on the issue.

Comment: See also: