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Die

Gambling scandal claims UK PM Sunak's campaign chief

Risho Sunak
© AAP/Associated PressThe scandal is another misfortune for Rishi Sunak, who's sinking under a gaffe-ridden campaign.
The campaign chief for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservatives has stepped aside two weeks before an election after reports he and his candidate wife were being investigated for betting on the election date.

The rapidly escalating gambling scandal is the latest misfortune to unfold for Sunak, who is forecast to lose power on July 4 after a campaign characterised by gaffes that followed his surprise announcement of an early vote.

The Conservative Party confirmed that campaign director Tony Lee had taken a leave of absence.

The statement on Thursday followed news reports that the Gambling Commission was looking into allegations of improper betting by Lee and his wife Laura Saunders, a candidate for parliament in Bristol.

Comment: Does Sunak even want to be PM? Or his he just going through the motions so he can bail before things get really bad in the UK? It sure looks like it.


USA

Beach in Crimea hit by Ukraine with US ATACMS , 5 dead, 124 injured - Russia says US 'primarily responsible'

crimea ukraine bomb
© UGCRising smoke from the Beach at Saky
Russia has claimed Ukraine struck Crimea using US-supplied missiles, killing at least five people including two children and injuring 124 more.

The Russian defence ministry said Kyiv on Sunday struck the city of Sevastopol in the Russia-occupied peninsula with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) and deliberately targeted civilians.

Russia claims it shot down four missiles and one detonated in mid-air, before fragments fell near a beach on the north side of the city which was packed with holidaymakers.

Footage aired on Russian state television showed terrified people running from a beach, and others being carried away on sun loungers.

Comment: Some researchers are claiming that flight data shows a US drone in the area which may have been responsible for providing the location data of the missiles that hit the beach:




Bad Guys

Dutch PM Mark Rutte clinches race to replace Jens Stoltenberg as NATO chief after lone rival drops out

Mark Rutte nato
© ReutersOutgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte clinched the race to become the next head of NATO
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew from the race on Thursday

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte clinched the race to become the next head of NATO at a pivotal time for the alliance, after sole challenger Romanian President Klaus Iohannis pulled out on Thursday.

The veteran politician, 57, is expected to be formally named by NATO's 32 nations in the coming days and should take over when current chief Jens Stoltenberg's term ends on October 1.

He will become the fourth Dutchman to lead NATO since it was founded in 1949.

Rutte will come in at a perilous moment for the Western allies as Russia's war in Ukraine drags on and Donald Trump battles to reclaim the presidency in the United States in November.

After staking his claim for the job last year following the collapse of his coalition, staunch Ukraine backer Rutte quickly won the support of heavyweights the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

Comment: Mark Rutte was approved by Hungary only after receiving assurances that it will not be required to join in any lunatic military actions taken by NATO against Russia.

Rutte endorsed by Orban as next NATO Secretary General after agreeing to Hungary's opt-out of Ukraine support
Mark Rutte's bid to be the next Secretary General of NATO, after Rutte said he supported Budapest opting out of NATO initiatives to support Ukraine, Orban announced on June 18.

Incumbent NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Hungary on June 12 for talks with Orban amid fears Budapest could derail future plans of support for Kyiv, having repeatedly obstructed assistance to Ukraine.

Orban told Stoltenberg that Hungary will not take part in any of the initiatives in support of Ukraine, but will not block them either. Stoltenberg said he accepted Hungary's position.

"Our next step this week was to ensure that this agreement can stand the test of time," Orban said on X on June 18.

Orban said that "after yesterday's meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that he fully supports this deal and will continue to do so, should he become the next Secretary General of NATO."
Full text:

Following the recent European elections, where Hungarians voted in huge numbers in favour of peace, we reached an important agreement with NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg. We agreed that no Hungarian personnel will take part in the activities of NATO in Ukraine and no Hungarian funds will be used to support them.

Our next step this week was to ensure that this agreement can stand the test of time. After yesterday's meeting in Brussels, PM Mark Rutte confirmed that he fully supports this deal and will continue to do so, should he become the next Secretary General of NATO.

In light of his pledge, Hungary is ready to support PM Rutte's bid for NATO Secretary-General.

@MinPres also assured me that his aim as NATO Secretary General will be to treat all Allies with the same level of understanding and respect.
However as on commenter pointed out, there is no mention of NATO troops or munitions not being allowed to transit Hungary. A closed-door compromise?


SOTT Logo Radio

SOTT Focus: NewsReal: Israel-Hezbollah On The Brink As Putin Visits North Korea

israel hezbollah houthis putin north korea
© Sott.net
Israel continues its slow-motion genocide of Palestinians, this week brazenly placing an injured Palestinian on the bonnet of a military jeep as a human shield, targeting more humanitarian aid workers, bombing more refugee camps, and bombing more UN buildings. Will Israel soon also invade Lebanon to do to Hezbollah what it has done to most of Gaza: wipe Lebanon off the map?

Also on this NewsReal, Joe and Niall look ahead to what promise to be 'furiously' interesting French and British elections, review Putin's visit to North Korea - his first in 24 years - and its geopolitical significance, and note that the Houthis of war-torn Yemen are STILL successfully blockading the Red Sea from shipping bound for Israel or the West.


Running Time: 01:48:31

Download: MP3 โ€” 74.5 MB


Footprints

NATO 'moving into Asia' - Putin

VPUT
© Vladimir Smirnov/SputnikRussian President Vladimir Putin
The Russian president has called for "reliable security architecture" in the region.

NATO's new focus on the Asia-Pacific is not only a security threat to all countries in the region, but is to Russia as well and Moscow is obliged to respond, President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday.

The Russian leader was speaking at a press conference after meetings with his Vietnamese counterpart To Lam in Hanoi, a day after signing a strategic partnership treaty with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

Putin said:
"We see what's happening in Asia, right? A bloc system is being put together... NATO is already moving there as if to a permanent place of residence. This, of course, poses a threat to all countries in the region, including the Russian Federation. We are obliged to respond to this and we will do so."
In Vietnam Putin announced:
"Moscow and Hanoi showed a mutual interest in building a reliable and adequate regional security architecture based on the principles of the non-use of force and a peaceful settlement of disputes, in which there will be no place for selective military-political blocs. The positions of Russia and Vietnam on these issues largely coincide or are close to each other.

"Global developments mean that strengthening cooperation with partners is a priority, especially in those areas that we consider important, including taking into account what is happening in Asia."
Russia also reserves the right to provide arms to allies, as the West claims it can arm Ukraine with impunity, and could send long-range weapons to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and other countries, Putin added.

Comment: West: All for one. Putin: One for all.


Handcuffs

ICC arrest warrant against Netanyahu highlights once again Western hypocrisy

Neti
© timesofisrael.com/KJNIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel will pay 120,000 shekels ($32,000) in legal fees to lawyers after the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, requested arrest warrants against both Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself. Khan has also applied for warrants against the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar, as well as Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Deif, the organization's military commander.

The Israeli officials are being charged with various war crimes and crimes against humanity, including employing the starvation of civilians as a warfare method. US President Joe Biden has described this decision as "outrageous". In this, the ICC, also known as the Hague court, went one step further than the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which thus far has ruled that Israel should halt its military campaign against civilians in Rafah and has issued various injunctions in the same spirit. Netanyahu in turn has behaved in a manner that can only be described as arrogant and non-transparent, by showing contempt to all such requests. It is a diplomatic and political disaster that has also turned into further legal problems.

Comment: Polarization is rapidly increasing. Slim chance there will be a 'coming back' to reason, law or de-escalation.


Warning

"The train has left the station and no one can stop it." Europe will be at war with Russia - Serbia's president A. Vucic

Vucic
© screenshotSerbian President Aleksander Vucic
These are the words of Serbia's President Aleksander Vucic. He ought to know. He is in the middle of it. He thinks Europe will be at war with Russia in "not more than three or four months," if that long.

President Vucic says:
"No one is attempting to stop the war. Nobody is speaking about peace. Peace is almost a forbidden word."
VIDEO

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban has a similar view as does Slovakian president Robert Fico,
who survived a recent assassination attempt.

In Western Europe, UK, and Washington everyone is talking about wider war with long range missiles used for attacks deep into Russia. Such attacks cannot revive the defeated Ukrainian military. Their purpose seems to be to provoke Russia into a retaliation that Washington can use to widen the war.

Comment: Check out the video. Vucic makes excellent points.


Star of David

UK Labour leader lobbied strongly for total Israel support - Corbyn

KeirJer
© Peter Summers/Getty ImagesKeir Starmer (L) and Jeremy Corbin in December 2019
The Jewish state's influence on the party expected to win the general election is "huge," its former leader has said.

Before becoming UK Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer issued a demand to his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, for total party support for any future military Israeli operations, the latter has claimed.

Corbyn was ousted from his position and later the party itself in a campaign centered around claims, now widely debunked, that he allowed anti-Semitism to go unchecked among members. The politician, who has a life-long record of pro-peace and pro-Palestinian activism, made the revelation in an interview with independent journalist Matt Kennard published on Wednesday.

Kennard asked Corbyn whether he was shocked by the level of support that Starmer and other senior Labour figures had offered to Israel in its ongoing military campaign in Gaza. He said he was not surprised "because I know where many of these people are coming from."
"During one extremely hostile meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party Committee, they confronted me and said: 'Will you give a blanket undertaking that you as party leader and potentially prime minister will automatically support any military action Israel undertakes?' And I said no."

Comment: Israel knows that as a particular ideology becomes part of the system, the individual and collective mindset no longer questions or observes. Those who protest are easily cast aside.


Attention

MSM signaling a change in the Russia-Ukraine narrative?

Morgan ad Sachs
© Off-Guardian
Two major incidents in the last week suggest we might be about to see a change in the narrative surrounding the Russian war in Ukraine.

First we saw Piers Morgan interviewing economist and former US diplomat Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs is noted for his eloquent and historically literate takes on the history of NATO and Russia and his persistent warning on the danger of World War III, all of which he repeated during an interview where Morgan's essentially just let Sachs talk:


Why? The people who run Morgan's show know exactly what Sachs was going to say - not least because he said it all in an 3 hour interview with Tucker Carlson last month - so why did they invite him on?

Guests on high profile programs like that are vetted to the max, and if they might say something the producers don't want their audience to hear they don't get invited on.

Taboo opinions are simply never given a platform, it is the first and most effective form of censorship.

Light Sabers

Ukrainization of Georgia will not happen - prime minister

FILE PHOTO: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.
© Davit Kachkachishvili / Anadolu via Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.
Tbilisi is right to protect its political system from foreign influence, Irakly Kobakhidze has insisted

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has vowed to resist pressure from political forces that seek to "Ukrainize" the country, insisting that his government will not allow that to happen.

Kobakhidze lashed out at the United National Movement (UNM), linked to former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, for stirring public discontent over a law that requires NGOs and media outlets that receive foreign funding to declare their sources.

Kobakhidze claimed that the UNM is trying to instigate mass protests similar to those that toppled the Ukrainian government in 2014.

Comment: The latest statements show that the Georgian struggle for independence from Western meddling is not yet over, otherwise, would there be no need to talk about it. For a West that wants to defeat Russia, there is a significant benefit from relentlessly trying to get a country like Georgia involved. Even if nothing happens, it destabilizes, divides the people, and puts pressure on the country and its administration

See also: