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Sat, 10 Dec 2022
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Iran slams West over 'uncontrolled' arms shipments to Ukraine

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.
Western military assistance to Ukraine is only prolonging its conflict with Russia, the Iranian foreign minister claimed on Thursday. Iran has repeatedly voiced a stance of "active neutrality" on the crisis.

Speaking with his Finnish counterpart by phone, Hossein Amirabdollahian stressed that Tehran is "opposed to the continuation of war, including in Ukraine."

Iran believes that "the uncontrolled shipment of US and European arms to Ukraine has further complicated the situation" in the country, the diplomat told Pekka Haavisto, according to a readout of the call released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.


China buying up Russian oil at steepest discounts in months

putin xi china russia
© Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Reuters
As the European Union scrambles to keep a lid on Moscow's energy income, China is snapping up Russian oil at the steepest discount in months, traders familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

At least one December-arrival cargo Russian ESPO light crude was sold at a discount of up to $6 per barrel compared to the benchmark price for Brent, four traders told the news outlet, implying a price of $68 a barrel.

And some January-loading cargoes were sold at a $4-per-barrel discount, the most since July, according to Reuters.

Comment: Meanwhile Europe has been buying oil, just secretly, and likely at a premium: UK 'quietly' imports $919 million worth of Russian oil since March - The Times


NATO's Stoltenberg fears conflict in Ukraine that it is stoking could spillover

© Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix via AP
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a lecture on Russia, Ukraine and NATO's security policy challenges, during the Civita breakfast in the University of Oslo, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.
The head of NATO expressed worry that the fighting in Ukraine could spin out of control and become a war between Russia and NATO, according to an interview released Friday.

"If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in remarks to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

"It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia," he said. "We are working on that every day to avoid that."

Comment: Because even the pathological types within NATO are having to face facts that Russia has demonstrated that, were war to erupt, it's highly unlikely they stand much chance of winning.

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, said in the interview that "there is no doubt that a full-fledged war is a possibility," adding that it was important to avoid a conflict "that involves more countries in Europe and becomes a full-fledged war in Europe."

Red Pill

Is 'terminate the Constitution' another Charlottesville hoax?

Following Twitter's release last Friday of shocking revelations of collusion between the Deep State and Big Tech to censor news about Hunter Biden's "Laptop from Hell," Donald Trump took to Truth Social, and what followed may have been another Charlottesville moment among the media, other Trump-haters, and more.

From CNN: "Trump calls for the termination of the Constitution in Truth Social post." Over at Axios: "'A few hours ago the leader of the republican party donald trump called for destroying the Constitution and making himself dictator,' Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) tweeted."

The offending language from Trump's social media post was,
"A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution."
Trump also included the admonition that "[o]ur great 'Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False and Fraudulent Elections!"


Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent

senator kyrsten sinema
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act at the Capitol Building on Nov. 29, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Sinema won't say whether she will caucus with Democrats.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent.

Sinema, in a Friday op-ed in the Arizona Republic, cited increasingly partisan interests and radicalization of both political parties as the reason for her departure.

Cardboard Box

US security strategy's empty narrative

W House
© Unknown
The administration of President Joe Biden has promulgated its vision of the US role in the world today in a new document, the 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS). This outlines a leadership posture built on the premise of US diplomatic, economic and military superiority on the global stage. The critical notion underpinning this strategy is that US democracy serves as a center of gravity around which a rules-based international order rotates. But the partisan political divide in the US, combined with the growing global multipolar challenge led by Russia and China, makes the promise of US global dominance little more than an empty narrative.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Oct. 12 announced the publication of the Biden administration's long-awaited NSS document. Blinken declared that the NSS
"lays out a vision for a free, open, secure and prosperous world and a comprehensive plan to realize it. This is not just our vision, but one shared by many other countries that seek to live in a world that respects the foundational principles of self-determination, territorial integrity and political independence; where countries are free to determine their own foreign policy choices; information is allowed to flow freely; universal human rights are upheld; and the global economy operates on a level playing field — providing opportunity for all."
The NSS is a report, published by the White House, that is mandated by Section 603 of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. Ideally, the NSS is to be transmitted annually, but frequently reports come in late or not at all.

Comment: Given the embarrassing track record of the Biden administration, it is not surprising that 'fluff' is its rhetoric of choice.


Ukraine operation could take a long time - Putin

© RIA Novosti/Mikhail Metsel
Russian President Vladimir Putin • December 7, 2022
The military operation in Ukraine may go on for a while, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, in a meeting with the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. Addressing a question about the duration of hostilities that escalated in February, Putin said that achieving all the objectives will take time, but pointed to what he called, several major gains already won.

"Of course, this might be a lengthy process," Putin said, insisting that the conflict really began in 2014, when the US backed a nationalist coup in Kiev. He contended that Moscow had little choice but to intervene in February, to defend the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk - which have since voted to join Russia, along with most of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
"These new territories are a major gain for Russia. Even Peter the Great sought access to the Azov Sea, and it is now an internal sea of the Russian Federation.

"Most importantly, the people who live there showed in a referendum that they want to be in Russia and feel they are part of our world. They are now with us, millions of them, and that is the greatest outcome."
Putin also said there was "no point" in discussing additional mobilization measures, as the more than 300,000 reservists called up to fill the ranks of the military were quite sufficient. In fact, some of the Donbass students who have been fighting for years are in the process of mustering out so they can finish their studies.

Comment: The massive Russian reserves provide options Ukraine can't possibly match.
Additional mobilization is currently off the table, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled on Wednesday.
"Among those 150,000 in the battle groups, only half - that's 77,000 - are with frontline units, the rest are on the second or third lines, essentially performing the functions of territorial defense troops, or undergoing additional training.
"There's simply no point in talking about some additional mobilization measures - neither the State nor the Defense Ministry need that today."
On October 31, the Russian president said that the "mobilization is over," and that he would consult with lawyers on whether a separate decree was required to formally end the draft. The Kremlin subsequently said that a decree, of that type, was not necessary.


Major break coming in the JFK assassination story

© Stringer/AFP
Lee Harvey Oswald at a press conference after JFK's murder
The CIA is concealing a secret operation that involved accused assassin Oswald.

Many Americans wonder why the CIA is still concealing records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which happened nearly 60 years ago.

We now have the answer. The CIA is hiding something terribly embarrassing, if not incriminating, about its role in the JFK story. In mid-1963, senior Agency officials approved a covert operation that used Lee Harvey Oswald for intelligence purposes, three months before Oswald allegedly shot and killed the president in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The CIA hid this operation from the Warren Commission in 1964, from the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978, and from the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in 1998.

The explosive story is told in 44 JFK records that the CIA has "denied in full" to the public.

Comment: History shows CIA disinformation ploys are purposefully layered. Exposure of one merely reveals another.
The CIA is withholding evidence that it knew Lee Harvey Oswald, the "lone gunman" who allegedly killed then-US president John F. Kennedy in 1963, was involved in anti-Cuban covert ops just months before the assassination, journalist Jefferson Morley has claimed.

Not only was the agency aware of his activities, they never told the Warren Commission - the ostensibly independent body tasked with investigating Kennedy's killing. They even went so far as to deny they had any knowledge of them at all, Morley - a prominent JFK researcher - stated at a press conference held by the Mary Ferrell Foundation on Monday.
"What the CIA is hiding is what they've always hidden, which is their sources and methods as they relate to Lee Harvey Oswald. We're talking about smoking-gun proof of a CIA operation involving Lee Harvey Oswald."
According to the journalist, Oswald was involved in an operation aimed at discrediting American supporters of Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro.

Morley bases his claims on the files of CIA agent George Joannides, who worked with anti-Castro Cuban exile groups. At least 44 documents in Joannides' files are still classified by the CIA and, he said, could provide further insight into the apparent effort to present Oswald as an "unhinged pro-Castro figure."

The Mary Ferrell Foundation sued the Biden administration and the National Archives in October, demanding the release of 16,000 classified documents on the JFK assassination that were ordered unsealed by former president Bill Clinton in 1992.

While most experts don't believe the trove contains irrefutable evidence of CIA or other government involvement in Kennedy's murder, many suspect they include information on the agency's contacts with Oswald prior to the killing. Morley has previously sued the CIA in an effort to have the Joannides files declassified, but has been unsuccessful so far.
JFK had fallen out with the CIA in the months before his death due to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs disaster, which he saw as an attempt to railroad the US into war with Cuba. The agency was deeply involved in the anti-Castro movement in the US, and Oswald, who returned to the US in 1962 after defecting to the Soviet Union two and a half years earlier, was involved in the local "Fair Play for Cuba" movement.
See also:
'What are they hiding?': Group sues Biden and National Archives over JFK assassination records


US lawmakers look to repeal Pentagon vaccine mandate

the jab
© Public Affairs Office/Christophe Morel
US Army Garrison Benelux
US House and Senate members are poised to force President Joe Biden's administration to end its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for members of the military by folding the provision into an annual defense funding bill.

Democrats have agreed to a compromise with Republicans under which they allowed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring the Pentagon to end its jab order. The final draft of the NDAA was released on Tuesday night and is scheduled to be voted on by the House later this week.

The move comes amid a military recruiting crisis, which has been blamed at least partly on the vaccine mandate, as well as claims by Republicans that Biden has infringed on the freedoms of US troops.

Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, previously confirmed the agreement, saying he had gained more than 90 co-sponsors for an earlier bill that would end the mandate. "Now it looks like the intent of this legislation could become a reality in the NDAA this month."

Cell Phone

FBI sees 'threat' in Apple move

Apple state dept.
The FBI has issued a warning about upcoming security updates for Apple products, insisting the company's plans to strengthen end-to-end encryption will interfere with efforts to track down criminals and terrorists.

The agency sounded alarms soon after Apple announced several "advanced security features" set to be introduced in the coming months - including new protections for files stored in the cloud - telling the Washington Post it is "deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose."

"This hinders our ability to protect the American people from criminal acts ranging from cyber-attacks and violence against children to drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism," an unnamed FBI spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. "In this age of cybersecurity and demands for 'security by design,' the FBI and law enforcement partners need 'lawful access by design.'"

US and allied law enforcement officials have long demanded tech firms to provide open access to all devices, with the FBI frequently citing the aftermath of a 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California, when agents were unable to access an Apple phone used by the shooter. Though the bureau pressed the company to help, Apple refused, leading to a lengthy legal battle centered on encryption.

Comment: The FBI and other government intelligence agencies, though not just agencies but individual agents as well, have a track record of abuse light-years long. Anything which limits their ability to achieve unlimited access and control is undoubtedly a good thing.