Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 03 Jun 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters


No room to concede or compromise on Taiwan question, China lieutenant general says in response to US Sec of Defense speech

china taiwan soldier
© Xinhua
A PLA soldier looks around with a telescope on August 5, 2022, as the Navy of the PLA Eastern Theater Command continues drills the waters around the island of Taiwan.
The Taiwan question bears on China's core interest and there is no room to concede or compromise. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) remains fully prepared and ready to firmly defend China's sovereignty and territorial integrity at any time, Jing Jianfeng, the PLA's deputy chief of the joint staff department of the Central Military Commission, lieutenant general, said in responding to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday during a press conference in Singapore.

Jing stressed three basic facts on the Taiwan questions. First, there is but one China in the world and Taiwan island is an inalienable part of China's territory. Second, the one-China principle represents the universal consensus of the international community. It is a universally recognized basic norm governing international relations. Third, it is the common aspiration and sacred responsibility of all Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, to realize national reunification.

Comment: China is making it increasingly clear that US provocations will not be tolerated: US releases footage of 'aggressive maneuver' by China during fighter jet intercept over South China Sea

Russian Flag

Ex-Biden aide Tara Reade flees to Russia over safety concerns following her allegation the President raped her 30 years ago

Tara Reader   Megyn Kelley

FILE PHOTO: Tara Reader interviewed by Megyn Kelley. Tara Reade said she faced persecution in her own country over her claim that she was raped by the US president 30 years ago.
Tara Reade, an ex-congressional aide to US President Joe Biden who accused him of sexual assault, has indicated that she intends to apply for a Russian passport. The ex-staffer-turned-journalist recently moved to Russia, claiming she no longer felt safe in the US.

Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference, Reade said that after being constantly persecuted in the US over her allegations, she hoped to "find safety" in Russia - a country she never regarded as an enemy - adding that she "appreciates my friends in Moscow... that have opened their arms" to welcome her.

"I'm going to make a request, and it is a large one. I'd like to apply for citizenship in Russia from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin," the ex-aide stated, promising to be "a good citizen."

Comment: Russia has become the preferred safe haven for refugees from the increasingly dystopian US: 'My Country Does Terrible Things': MMA Fighter Jeff Monson On Why He Renounced US Citizenship

Eye 1

UK to keep secret how 'significant portion' of £4.8bn in lethal aid for Ukraine is being spent

ukraine soldier

A Ukrainian soldier with a British-supplied NLAW anti-tank missile system in Starychi, Ukraine.
The British government is refusing to reveal how a large part of the billions in weaponry it is sending to Ukraine is being spent. The policy raises particular concerns following revelations it is supplying depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine.

"A significant proportion of our lethal aid [for Ukraine] is procured overseas and for both operational and commercial reasons, the detail of these contracts will not be published," the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has told parliament.

The announcement raises suspicion that Britain is sending more controversial weaponry to Ukraine that it does not want made public.


Sir Keir Starmer held secret talks with donor of climate activists days before revealing plan to ditch new oil licences

Keir Starmer
© PA
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
SIR Keir Starmer held secret talks with Just Stop Oil's bankroller days before revealing his plan to bin new oil and gas licences.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince, who has donated £1.5million to the Labour party, said he spoke with Labour's boss last week.

And Mr Vince repeated his support for the eco-protest group, which is causing mayhem on the streets, saying: "People have to stand up and do something."

He told the BBC he spoke to Sir Keir "on the phone", but they did not discuss Just Stop Oil.

Comment: It's probably no surprise that the establishment are angling to push sister Starmer into power. As for Just Stop Oil, they seem to be serving a number of agendas, including championing the deadly deindustrialisation 'green' agenda, as well as providing high profile activist campaigns that infuriate the general public, which the authorities then use as justification for their crackdown on the right to protest: UK gov't to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups

More on Just Stop Oil's 'green' donors:
A Big Oil heiress is a key funder of a sprawling global network of grassroots climate groups, including the U.K.-based Just Stop Oil, which staged a protest Friday vandalizing a famous painting.

Aileen Getty, the granddaughter of the Getty Oil founder, is the founding donor of the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a Los Angeles-based organization that finances several high-profile climate protest groups around the world. Getty, who is a prolific environmental philanthropist, wired $500,000 to CEF shortly after it was founded in 2019, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Boosted by Getty's initial and continued contributions, CEF has awarded millions of dollars to radical groups that have engaged in disruptive protests worldwide. Among CEF's grantees is the A22 Network, which is made up of Just Stop Oil, the U.S.-based Declare Emergency and groups in nine countries including Germany, France and Canada.


Heart - Black

Epstein emailed about dinners with Woody Allen, David Blaine, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and many politicians - after prison stint as sex offender

© Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty
The rich and famous appeared to have few qualms about palling around with Jeffrey Epstein following the disgraced financier's 13-month prison stay for soliciting sex from an underage girl, with boldface names appearing on his schedule such as Chris Rock, David Blaine, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon, and the former CEO of one of Donald Trump's Atlantic City casinos.

That's according to a tranche of emails obtained by The Daily Beast, which reveal others who showed up on Epstein's dance card as having included music industry titan Tommy Mottola, Wendi Murdoch, Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, late comedian David Brenner, artist Jeff Koons, the president of Mongolia, and not one, but two former Norwegian prime ministers. Epstein also often indulged in his infamous "appointments," with longtime executive assistant Lesley Groff setting up multitudes of sessions with young women to service him.

The emails, which The Daily Beast received from authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands via a Freedom of Information Act request, indicate Epstein's well-connected life proceeded seemingly unhindered by his status as a registered sex offender after his 2008 felony conviction in Florida.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges of procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution, and served more than a year of an 18-month sentence before being released. When he got out, a judge ordered him confined to his Palm Beach home, as part of his year-long probation. But the terms of both Epstein's incarceration and his house arrest were unusually lax, and he was allowed to travel between Florida, New York, and his private Caribbean island without undue restriction. When his probation ended in July 2010, Epstein was forced to register as a Level III sex offender - a threat to public safety at risk of reoffending - for the rest of his life.

Alarm Clock

Spanish PM Sánchez calls snap general election after disastrous local polls

Pedro Sánchez
© Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced new elections
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Monday said he would dissolve parliament and call for a snap election for July 23, a day after conservatives and the far right posted strong gains in regional and municipal polls.

Spain was due to hold general elections by the end of the year, but the Socialist leader announced his decision to move up the date following Sunday's local polls, which saw his party suffer heavy losses across the country.

In a televised statement from Moncloa Palace, the official residence of Spain's head of government, Sánchez took personal responsibility for his party's poor showing in the municipal elections, which concluded with nearly all of the country's largest cities in the hands of the centre-right Popular Party (PP), including longtime Socialist stronghold Seville.

"These results suggest Spaniards should clarify which political forces they want to take the lead," Sánchez said, adding that it was time to let the people "take the floor and define the country's political direction."

Arrow Down

Ukraine: Bleeding Out

© unknown
Even for well-reported 20th century wars, decades later, historians are still seeking to improve our understanding of them. With the Ukraine conflict, we're in the midst of the unprecedented experience of being able to discern a remarkably high proportion of what is afoot, albeit with a great deal of noise in the signal between aggressive propagandizing and issues of sourcing with various purported close-to-the-action accounts.

But the war has gone at a seemingly slow pace, due to Russia shifting strategy to attrition (rather than trying to force negotiations), the time required to break extremely well-fortified lines (without incurring huge and unnecessary human costs), and Russia choosing to grind down other elements of Ukraine's military, notably its air defenses. That's lead commentators to focus on battles and even hot spots on the line of contact, in part because that's where the action has been, in part because close observers hope they'll be able to find clues of when and where the fighting might shift into bigger, more decisive-looking campaigns.

However, the ongoing focus on comparatively local contests, and even the watch for the start of the Great Overanticipated Ukraine Counteroffensive appears to have distracted commentators from what will drive the broad timing of the resolution of the conflict, absent a nuclear escalation.

Comment: Desperate times, desperate measures. Applying common sense is the long shot.


Xi tells China's security chiefs to prepare for 'dangerous storms'

© Thomas Peter/Getty Images
Chinese President XI • Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi
The president has warned that the country must prepare for "worst-case" scenarios as its security situation deteriorates...

China faces increasingly difficult and complex national security challenges and must prepare for "worst-case" scenarios by increasing its capacity to deal with internal and external threats, President Xi Jinping has warned.

"We must be prepared for worst-case and extreme scenarios and be ready to withstand the major test of high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms," state-run news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying on Tuesday in a meeting with China's top security officials in Beijing. He added that more efforts were needed to modernize the nation's security architecture and "get prepared for actual combat and dealing with practical problems."

Xi made his comments to the National Security Commission amid increasing tensions with the US. Just this week, Beijing declined Washington's request for a meeting between the two countries' defense chiefs when both men attend a security conference in Singapore in June, citing the need for US officials to respect China's sovereignty and security concerns.

Comment: Smart move: China is kicking its self-preservation mode into high gear.

See also:

Stock Up

Toxic contagion - funds, food, and pharma

africa planting
© Unknown
Afrique agriculture • Planting the fields
In 2014, the organisation GRAIN revealed that small farms produce most of the world's food in its report 'Hungry for land: small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland'. The report 'Small-scale Farmers and Peasants Still Feed the World' (ETC Group, 2022) confirmed this.

Small farmers produce up to 80% of the food in the non-industrialised countries. However, they are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world's farmland. The period 1974-2014 saw 140 million hectares - more than all the farmland in China - being taken over for soybean, oil palm, rapeseed and sugar cane plantations.

GRAIN noted that the concentration of fertile agricultural land in fewer and fewer hands is directly related to the increasing number of people going hungry every day. While industrial farms have enormous power, influence and resources, GRAIN's data showed that small farms almost everywhere outperform big farms in terms of productivity.

In the same year, policy think tank the Oakland Institute released a report stating that the first years of the 21st century will be remembered for a global land rush of nearly unprecedented scale. An estimated 500 million acres, an area eight times the size of Britain, were reported bought or leased across the developing world between 2000 and 2011, often at the expense of local food security and land rights.

Comment: Vanguard and BlackRock: Masters of the slow, unimpeded manifestation of ultimate power and wealth.

Green Light

Republicans say Obama was aware of Biden family business dealings

© Getty Images/KJN
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer • Former US President Barack Obama
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has made a claim that implicated former President Barack Obama in regard to allegations involving the family of his then-Vice President Joe Biden.

In an interview, Comer hinted that Obama was aware of the Biden family's questionable international business deals that have been the focus of a years-long federal probe.
"I believe that it's because he knew what Joe Biden was doing the last year of his vice presidency. He knew his son (Hunter Biden) was no good, and he knew this was nothing but a political liability not just for our country, not just for the democrat party, but for Obama's legacy."
Comer also raised the possibility that Obama's awareness of the family's business dealings might have influenced his hesitation to fully endorse Biden's presidential campaign in 2020.
"So, I think that's why Obama didn't want Joe Biden to run for president. I think they knew about this. And remember, a lot of these coverups would have happened during the Obama administration with Obama appointees in these deep state bureaucracies."
He also suggested that Obama be questioned under oath about what he may have known back then.

Comment: If Obama is the hand; Biden is the glove. That's how leverage works.