Puppet MastersS

Magic Wand

The great Brussels stitch-up: Over dinner last night, von der Leyen was crowned again

Mac and Ley
© Ludovic Marin/pool/AFP/Getty ImagesEmmanuel Macron needs von der Leyen
Since the results of the European elections started to trickle through, the continent's elites have been scrambling to minimise their impact. Faced with a predictable surge in support for Right-populist parties, their strategy has been relatively simple: to fast-track the usually lengthy process for the selection of the bloc's three top jobs — that of president of the European Commission, currently held by Ursula von der Leyen; of president of the European Council, held by Charles Michel; and of foreign policy chief, which is currently in the hands of Josep Borrell. Within hours, Operation Save Brussels had gone into overdrive, in an attempt to "lock in" the EU's institutional set-up for the next five years before the Right-populists make any more advances.

It was in honour of this mission that EU leaders held an "informal" dinner in Brussels last night. Amid frenzied briefings and counter-briefings, the discussions largely centred on the presidency of the Commission — the most powerful and coveted post in the EU. And even if they failed to reach an agreement for all three posts, von der Leyen's reconfirmation seems all but certain.

No Entry

Zelensky bans another Ukrainian opposition party

© Getty Images/Keystone/EDA/POUkraine's Vladimir Zelensky at the Peace in Ukraine conference, Lucerne, Switzerland, June 15, 2024
Kiev has outlawed another political force amid questions about the legitimacy of the government.

A Ukrainian court has banned the Nash Krai (Our Land) political party and ordered the seizure of its assets at the request of the Ministry of Justice. The move is the latest in a crackdown on the opposition under Vladimir Zelensky's administration.

A panel of judges from the Eighth Administrative Court of Appeal issued the ruling on Wednesday, according to a statement, which read:
"The court satisfied the claims of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine: the activities of the political party Nash Krai were banned; the property, funds and other assets of the party, its regional, city, district organizations, primary cells and other structural units were transferred to the state."
The party was registered in August 2011 as the 'Bloc Party' and was renamed 'Nash Krai' in 2014. From 2015, the party positioned itself as a "group of local leaders and businessmen" who aimed to avoid political games and intrigue, according to RBK Ukraine. Only three of its members were elected to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) as independents in 2019, but the party gained some 1,694 seats in regional administrations during local elections in 2020.

Airplane Paper

Ukraine could invite Russia to next peace talks - Zelensky aide

© Maxym Marusenko/Getty ImagesVladimir Zelensky's chief of staff Andrey Yermak • March 20, 2024
Kiev is open to Moscow's participation in the next peace conference, Vladimir Zelensky's chief of staff Andrey Yermak has said. He announced the possibility after the failed conference in Switzerland.

Yermak spoke reporters late on Tuesday and revealed that working groups are already preparing a follow-up meeting, following the Ukraine-centered event held over the weekend at a resort in Lucerne, Switzerland.

According to Bloomberg, Yermak said:
"All of these will be part of this joint plan, which will be supported by a number of countries at the next meeting. We think it will be possible to invite [a] representative of Russia."
While Kiev has enjoyed the support of the US and the West at large, Zelensky has long sought approval from more countries for his "peace formula."

The conference in Switzerland was a failure in that respect, with some of the participants refusing to sign the final communique and others withdrawing their signatures.

Comment: Yermak offers 'window dressing' sans the window.


A door closes, a window opens

biden trump 2020 debates
© Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesDonald Trump, left, and Joe Biden, right, debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020.
"Almost every headline and what passes as 'news' in the United States, is a cry for help."

— Karen Kwiatkowski
Now that the gunplay and colorful flash-mobbery of Juneteenth has concluded, it's on to next week's big debate between the two major party candidates — if debate is even the right description for what is more like a joint press conference conducted by one candidate's PR firm. What does the reality-starved public think it will see? Probably anything but a fair fight.

It's hard to imagine what possessed "Joe Biden" to decide this was a good idea for him (unless he wasn't the decider). Since we're in an era of archetypal psychodrama, the event looks more like a ritual sacrifice. His recent public performances have been, shall we say, less than reassuring in both utterance and physical poise. He comes off as Captain Queeg meets Mr. Magoo. So, you have to wonder if some ancient tropism-of-the-mind steers him to certain destruction, egged on by those of his own faction who will benefit from his exit.

Mr. Potato

West has plan to replace Zelensky - Russian intelligence

Ukraine's Vladimir Zelensky addresses the German parliament.
© Michele Tantussi / Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: Ukraine's Vladimir Zelensky addresses the German parliament.
The Ukrainian leader will be scapegoated for the country's inevitable military defeat, the SVR agency predicts

The US and its allies will sacrifice Vladimir Zelensky, who is entirely dependent on their support, without any qualms, the Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) has claimed in a statement, according to TASS.

Moscow considers Zelensky to be a usurper, since his five-year presidential term expired in May. President Vladimir Putin has argued that, under the Ukrainian constitution, the parliament remains legitimate, and presidential authority should have passed to its speaker when Zelensky's term ended. However, officials in Kiev have conspired to keep Zelensky in place.

"It is becoming increasingly evident that the White House will soon shut down 'Project Zelensky'," the SVR stated on Thursday.

The term usurper used in article means "one who takes or makes use of something without right". which is true from a legal point of view. One might also say that Zelensky has moved from the role of an official president to that of a placeholder: "a person or thing that occupies the position or place of another person or thing". This interpretation would fit with: Zelensky not the one running Ukraine - The Times

The West might chose a different option than replacing Zelensky with retired General Valery Zaluzhny, even just to prove that Russia is misinformed, but that does not necessarily have to be the case, as the situation stands now. In other words we have to wait and see.

See also:


Press freedom 'shrinking' in Ukraine - Reporters Without Borders

Journalists on the frontline
© Marcus Yam/Getty Images
The non-profit group has cited surveillance and threats of forceful enlistment into the military faced by independent journalists.

Independent media outlets are being subjected to growing pressure in Ukraine, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has warned. The non-profit group urged the government in Kiev to combat impunity for violent crimes against reporters and to end arbitrary restrictions regarding coverage of the conflict with Russia.

Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky signed a law in 2022 that significantly expanded the government's media regulation powers, allowing for outlets to be temporarily banned. The legislation came under fire both domestically and in the West at the time.

On Wednesday, RSF released a report titled 'Shrinking press freedom in Ukraine: urgent need to implement a roadmap for the right to information', which claimed that "political pressure and obstacles are mounting on the Ukrainian media."

Comment: See also:

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: NATO Expansion: A Timeline

NATO enlargement

Comment: From Zerohedge:
The official website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has since January of this year featured an entire page which seeks to "debunk" what it calls "Russian disinformation on NATO".

The series of "myths" that the official NATO page sets out to dispel in one section mocks the very term "NATO expansion" strongly suggesting that it's so misleading, the words shouldn't even be used in conversation or in media reporting.

Here is what NATO claims as part of its 'debunking' and setting forth of 'facts'...
The wording "NATO expansion" is already part of the myth. NATO did not hunt for new members or want to "expand eastward." NATO respects every nation's right to choose its own path. NATO membership is a decision for NATO Allies and those countries who wish to join alone.
In recent days Terry Cowan - a geopolitical commentator and Lecturer of History at University of Texas at Tyler - has compiled a new and very helpful timeline documenting the history of NATO's eastward expansion to Russia's doorstep.

Below is professor Cowan's NATO Expansion: A Timeline.

I have recently finished reading The Ukraine War & the Eurasian World Order by Glenn Diesen (Atlanta: Clarity Press, Inc., 2024). I have poured over it, underlining, making notes, and now I have passed it on to my son for his edification. This is one of the most important books I have read in many years. Once we are on the other side of this conflict, I believe it will stand as a seminal explanatory text for our era, the waning of Western hegemony.


Best of the Web: Niall Ferguson: We're All Soviets Now

soviet union soldiers liquor store
© Sergei Guneyev via Getty ImagesSmolensky Street shoppers, including two Soviet Army soldiers lining up at a liquor store counter waiting to buy vodka, on November 16, 1991
A government with a permanent deficit and a bloated military. A bogus ideology pushed by elites. Poor health among ordinary people. Senescent leaders. Sound familiar?

The witty phrase "late Soviet America" was coined by the Princeton historian Harold James back in 2020. It has only become more apposite since then as the cold war we're in — the second one — heats up.

I first pointed out that we're in Cold War II back in 2018. In articles for The New York Times and National Review, I tried to show how the People's Republic of China now occupies the space vacated by the Soviet Union when it collapsed in 1991.

This view is less controversial now than it was then. China is clearly not only an ideological rival, firmly committed to Marxism-Leninism and one-party rule. It's also a technological competitor — the only one the U.S. confronts in fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. It's a military rival, with a navy that is already larger than ours and a nuclear arsenal that is catching up fast. And it's a geopolitical rival, asserting itself not only in the Indo-Pacific but also through proxies in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Comment: Xi's China Dream will continue to attract support from countries around the world because it seeks to put relationships between them on a footing of mutual respect for each others' sovereignty.

20 countries queue up to join BRICS

Russian Flag

SOTT Focus: Russia and the DPRK: Traditions of Friendship and Cooperation Through the Years

Comment: This article was published in the North Korean Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

putin kim korea
On the eve of my state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I would like to address the Korean and foreign audience of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper to share my thoughts on the prospects for partnership between our states and on their role in the modern world.

The relations of friendship and neighbourliness between Russia and the DPRK, based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and trust, go back more than seven decades and are rich in glorious historical traditions. Our peoples cherish the memory of their difficult joint struggle against Japanese militarism and honour the heroes who fell in it. In August 1945, Soviet soldiers, fighting shoulder to shoulder with Korean patriots, defeated the Kwantung Army, liberated the Korean peninsula from colonisers, and opened the way for the Korean people to develop independently. As a symbol of combat brotherhood of the two nations, a monument was erected in 1946 on the Moranbong Hill in the centre of Pyongyang to commemorate the liberation of Korea by the Red Army.

The Soviet Union was the first among the world's states to recognise the young Democratic People's Republic of Korea and establish diplomatic relations with it. As early as on March 17, 1949, when the founder of the DPRK, Comrade Kim Il Sung, paid his first visit to Moscow, the USSR and the DPRK signed the Agreement on Economic and Cultural Cooperation, establishing a legal framework for further strengthening of their bilateral interaction. Our country helped the Korean friends to build their national economy, create a healthcare system, develop science and education, and train professional administrative and technical staff.

Comment: Kim Jung Un welcoming Putin to North Korea:

Putin's motorcade through Pyongyang:

Kim showing Putin his new (Russian-made) limo:

It's Putin's first visit to North Korea since 2000, the first year of his presidency:

Eye 2

Best of the Web: Israel responsible for 'many' of its own Oct 7 casualties - Israel's N12 news channel reports

Israeli Brigadier General Barak Hiram hannibal directive Oct 7
FILE: Israeli Brigadier General Barak Hiram ordered an Israeli tank to fire on a house full of Israeli hostages taken captive by Hamas in Kibbutz Be'eri on Oct 7, 2023

Comment: Please note that with this being relatively breaking news, the following article is a Google translation of the original.

The IDF began to investigate the battles in the first days in the surrounding settlements, and the picture is becoming clearer: many casualties due to our forces firing on our forces and the decision that was made in real time - which turned out to be wrong.

The IDF's investigations into the events of October 7 have already begun, and little by little the picture is becoming clearer about what happened in the first two days of fighting in the Otaf settlements. Tonight (Wednesday) we published in the "Main Edition" new revelations from the investigation of the battles in the Gaza Otaf, on October 7-9:

Comment: Note that this report follows another recent admission from the IDF that they knew Hamas intended to attack and take hostages at least 2 weeks prior to Oct 7.

This comes amidst a variety of other established facts that have since debunked Israel's own propaganda of what happened on that day. And which included an IDF whistleblower who told of how he warned his bosses of a looming attack, and that also just prior to Oct 7 he was ordered to stand down.

Whilst the IDF being responsible for a significant number of Israeli casualties on Oct 7 has been reported by various analysts and investigative journalists, as well as the UN itself, this is the first time Israel has acknowledged that it is responsible for slaughtering so 'many'.

How many remains to be seen. But given that Israel's recent massacre/hostage rescue mission killed at least 3 of the Israeli hostages, it seems fairly clear that its Hannibal Directive is still in operation.

As with the recent leaked document scandal, linked below, one might ask why yet another explosive admission is occurring now:
The Washington Post has published 2 smear articles on The Grayzone for reporting on Israel's Oct 7 friendly fire attacks, accusing us of "misinformation," and Israel's Haaretz branded me a "master manipulator" for helping expose the scandal. Our crime was revealing the truth too early.